Matthew – Chapter 5

The Beatitudes

Verse 1 – And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

Verse 2 – Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying:

The Beatitudes is also called “The Sermon on the Mount.”

Verse 3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are the poor in spirit because they have a humble opinion of themselves; to know that we have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved by the grace of God; be willing to be placed where God places us; to be willing to be fully in His hands; and to feel we deserve no favor from Him.

Jesus didn’t say, blessed are the poor. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” If people think its humble to stay poor and always in need, they have missed the meaning completely. If you are always too poor to help anyone but yourself, then what good is that?

Verse 4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

This is for those who truly mourn over their sin. This is an attitude of true repentance. The comfort comes from Christ, knowing you are forgiven. And with that attitude, you will be able to comfort those who reach the same place of mourning.

Verse 5 – Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness is patience when we are injured. It is the opposite of sudden anger, malice, bitterness, or revenge. Christ was the pure model of meekness. It was one of His characteristics. No man has endured more wrong than Him.

Verse 6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Such verses as this one, can be twisted into a theology in which righteousness is achieved by works. However, our righteousness is a gift from God, when Christ took our sin upon Himself. The exchange is, we receive the righteousness of Christ and He took our sin.

Verse 7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

We imitate our heavenly Father, by showing mercy to others. We all were guilty of sin, wretched and dying, and bound for hell throughout eternity, before Christ. But through God’s Son, that was willing to die for us, we get to live forgiven. That’s mercy we didn’t deserve.

Verse 8 – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

True purity of heart will be given to those who hunger and thirst after Him. These are those whose minds are stayed on Him, whose principles are pure, who seek to have their actions done with a right attitude. When we stand before Jesus, we will see God.

Verse 9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Those who strive to prevent contention and strife, war, and those who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties. Those who endeavor to promote peace are worthy to be called His children.

Verse 10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

All that live godly will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Have you ever lost friends or family because you choose to live by God’s standards? There will be times when a true follower of Christ will refuse to compromise. That will cost you. Jesus calls us blessed!

Verse 11 – “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

This is all manner of evil against you for Christ’s sake. We are not blessed just because someone speaks evil of us, but falsely accusing. Because, as Christians, we are attached to Christ, it will offend others.

Verse 12 – “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

To those who suffer the most, God imparts the highest rewards. Do you know that God can take “that thing” that caused us to suffer the most, and use it to bless us in the mightiest way?

Verse 13 – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

If Christians make no effort to influence and affect those around them, then they have no value. If a Christian is too much like the world, then they won’t have any affect on changing it!

Verse 14 – “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Do those around you know you are a follower of Christ? If they don’t,  you need to change some things. I’m not talking about “Bible Thumping,” I’m talking about bringing light into every situation where it brings comfort and peace. We don’t add to a stressful situation by adding fuel to the fire.

Verse 15 – Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Have you ever heard someone say, “My religion is personal. I don’t tell anyone about it. That’s between me and God.” Christianity is not a secret society!

Verse 16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Others are watching our responses and attitudes toward different situations. We aren’t to throw a fit when we don’t get our way. We are to take the principles by God that we have been taught, and apply them to each situation. Others will watch how we respond and know whether God All Mighty is our Father or not.

Jesus Fulfills the Law

Verse 17 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

The first five books of Moses and what the prophets wrote, was the meaning. Throughout Israel’s history, these laws had been misquoted and misapplied. By Jesus’ time, the religious leaders had turned the laws into a confusing mass of rules that they didn’t follow the true meaning themselves. Jesus was trying to get people to understand the laws original purpose.

Verse 18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Ceremonial law, civil law, and the moral laws of God, all have principles that are still followed by God’s people today. However, because our savior, Jesus Christ, made that one final sacrifice with His blood, that satisfied the Father. We just have to accept and receive.

Verse 19 – “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of haven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heave.

The Pharisees liked to divide the law into greater and lesser precepts. Disobedience, no matter how small, is still disobedience.

Verse 20 – “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Pharisees were scrupulous in their attempts to follow their laws. They strive to obey the law outwardly, but not allow God to change them inwardly. So, Jesus was saying their goodness should be greater than that of the Pharisees. They looked pious, but they were far from the kingdom of God. God judges our hearts as well as our deeds.

Verse 21 – “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.

Verse 22 – “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ Shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

The Jews understood, “Thou shall not murder” to mean, to take another’s life with malice or with intent to murder them. They took its understanding no further. But Jesus showed the spiritual effects of murder. It was extended to thoughts and feelings as well as the extreme act. Raca,” is an expression of great contempt. Notice Jesus said, “to be angry with a brother without cause.” He didn’t tell us it was a sin to be angry. He was telling us not to “act” on that anger.

Verse 23 – “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

Verse 24 – leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Verse 25 – “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, least your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown in prison.

Verse 26 – “Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

These 4 verses have to be read together to get the full meaning of Jesus is saying. The one that comes to worship and offer a gift (sacrifice) at the altar, is the one which has done a wrong to the one who is angry with him. Jesus isn’t talking about the worshiper having done nothing wrong and another is angry at them for some stupid reason. He’s saying, we can’t come to worship without first making it right with the person we have wronged or we are being a hypocrite. Try to reconcile, make right the wrong, before that person takes you into a court of law and sues your pants off!

Verse 27 – “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

Verse 28 – “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The Pharisees here again had probably been teaching that it was only adultery if they committed the act. However, Jesus says it has already been committed if one lusts for another that is not theirs.

Verse 29 – “And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than the for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Verse 30 – “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Jesus was not telling them to self-mutilate, because a blind person can still lust. He was saying don’t tolerate a sin in your life until it festers and becomes a part of your life. Get rid of it quickly. It is better to suffer a little while in trying to stop something, than it is to bring judgment and condemnation on one’s self.

Verse 31 – “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’

Verse 32 – “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Jesus plainly states that unfaithfulness is the only excuse for divorce. However, when one partner becomes abusive, physical, or mentally abusive, sometimes its better to dissolve the marriage in order to save a person’s life!

Verse 33 – Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely,

Verse 34 – “but I say to you, do not swear at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;

Verse 35 – “nor by earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.

We can’t make an oath and swear by it on something we don’t own, neither heaven or earth. The Jews were breaking promises and using sacred language casually and carelessly. Giving your word while knowing you are not going to keep it is, “swearing falsely.”

Verse 36 – “Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.

Verse 37 – “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No!’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

If we are known as an honest and truthful person, we then have no need to always end our statement with, I promise or I swear.

Verse 38 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

Verse 39 – “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

These two verses have been taken out of context and perverted to the point of Christians believing that they should stand there and let someone physically abuse them. Not so. We are to defend ourselves and our families. What Jesus was talking about was this; This rule had been made for judges and magistrates in a court of law, but the Jews had taken it a step further to the individuals. The punishment was to fit the crime (verse 38). The Jews had taken this to enact revenge on another Jew. Jesus declares that the law had no reference to private revenge.

Now for the “turning the cheek.” When we have been wronged, Jesus said to do good to those who have wronged us. Our desire should be to forgive and love. This is not natural for us to do, its supernatural that can only come with God’s help. He will help us pray for those who hurt us. Some may disagree with the meaning of turning the other cheek, but by no means stand there and let someone beat you up so that this scripture can be fulfilled. You will end up in the hospital or dead.

Verse 40 – “If anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also.

Jesus commanded His disciples to do even more than the courts allowed when seeking reconciliation with an opponent. He was trying to get their hearts tender in order to give mercy instead of retaliation for a wrong.

Verse 41 – “And whoever compels you to go one mile go with him two.

Verse 42 – “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

These verses are open to interpretation of our times. Someone who is in true need, help them; someone who refuses to work, only promotes their laziness.

Verse 43 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

Verse 44 – “But I say to you love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

Verse 45 – “That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His Sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Verse 46 – “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

Verse 47 – “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

Verse 48 – “Therefor you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

We are expected as Christians to act and respond different from the world does in every situation. We can’t love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, or pray for those who spitefully use us unless we have God’s Holy Spirit living within us! Sometimes we fail at this, but that doesn’t mean we quit trying. Not everyone has these principles, so just be kind, have consideration for others, and always show mercy, because God gives you, me, mercy even though I, we, don’t deserve it!

 

 

 

 

 

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