Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "MATTHEW"
I. The Kingdom Offered 1:1-11:1
(and His rights DISPLAYED)
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE KINGDOM OFFERED 1:1-11:1 (and His rights DISPLAYED
- His LEGAL right to be King 1-2 ("born King of the
- A kingly line l:l-l7 (earthly descent)
There are two covenants involved. Through Abraham, our Lord has right to
the land; through David, to the throne.
Joseph, though not His actual father, is His legal father: so Jesus is
shown to be the son of David via Joseph through Solomon; thus He has legal
throne rights. Contrast Luke 3:31, where we see that through another of
David's sons, Nathan, He partook of David's humanity (through His mother,
It is a striking testimony to the grace of God, and at the same time
evidence of the desperate need of Israel and mankind for a Saviour, that
all four women mentioned (beside Mary) were disqualified from the usual
and proper honor of motherhood by immora1ity (Tamar, v.3; Rahab, v.5:
Bathsheha, v. 6) or by being of heathen origin (Rahab,_v. 5; Ruth, v. 5;
Dt. 23:3). Even Mary had to bear the shame of misunderstanding from those
who did not believe Jesus was supernaturally conceived and virgin born
Perhaps a word would be helpful about the three groups of 14 in 1:2-17.
There seems superficially to be an error in both the second and the third
list of 14 generations. The writer is simply making a general and
easily-remembered summary, not a precise count. The solution to the second
list is to accept the theory that the last four kings of Judah are grouped
as though they were one (because the time covered--less than 23 years--is
less than a generation). Jechonias's name (also called Jehoiachin and
Coniah) is evidently selected because of the very specific prophecy
against his son succeeding him as king. (He did not, for an
uncle--Zedekiah--succeeded him, Jer. 22:28-30.) Dr. Ernest J. Pace has
suggested that the third grouping of 14 is made up by the following means:
No. 11, Jacob; No. 12, Joseph (Jesus' legal father); No. 13, God (His
actual Father through the Holy Spirit, vv.18,20); No. 14, Jesus.
HERE READ LUKE 1. And see Addendum I, section I, at rear of notes.
- A unique begetting 1:18-25 (heavenly descent)
"On this wise"--means something different from the merely natural
begettings rehearsed in vv.l-16a. This begetting was supernatural (vv.
18b, 20b). Compare Luke 1:26-56 with Matthew 1:25. How could language be
HERE READ LUKE 2:1-39 for continuity of the story.
- Royal homage 2:1-11 (".. .and they worshipped Him" v.
Though our Lord is horn king of the Jews, He will eventually reign over
all the earth (Dan. 7:13-14). It is therefore fitting that not only Jews
(Lk. 2:15-20) but Gentiles. should recognize His unique Person and
qualifications. Let us also bow down and worship HIM"! (If ever there was
a strategic opportunity to introduce worship of Mary, it was here. But
they "worshipped HIM"!)
Common misconceptions concerning the wise men:
- T'hat the star LED them on their journey FROM the
No, they saw the star while they were still in the East, understood its
import (Num. 24:17), traveled to the capital city of the "scepter of
Israel" (Jerusalem) to inquire about the newborn king, supposing that
everyone there would know about Him (v.2). The star led them only when
they left Jerusalem to go to Bethlehem. Evidently they had not seen the
star since they left "the east." It apparently reappeared when they left
Jerusalem to go down to Bethlehem, in accordance with what the scribes
had told them by quoting Micah 5:2. The star NOW led them (for the first
time). This is why they rejoiced (v. 10). What had begun to look like a
"wild goose chase, " when they came to the Jew's capital city and found
no one knew about a king being born (vv.3-6), is now confirmed as God's
leading by the star's reappearance, even guiding them to Bethlehem.
- That the star was some conflux of stars or planets.
No, no such phenomenon could be said to stand over a particular house in
a particular town more than over other houses or towns. To accomplish
this, it had to be a supernatural star unlike any ordinary star.
- That there were three wise men, whose names we know,
No number is given nor do we know them. All such stories are legend and
Providential protection 2:12-23 ("Arise …
flee" v. 13)
THE TIME OF THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN AND FIRST
APPEARANCE OF THE STAR (w.7.16)
When did the wise men's visit take place?
Certainly not on the night of our Lord's birth! No, very probably about 3
to 6 months later.
- Here is the way we arrive at that figure.
Our Lord began His public ministry when He was about 30 (Lk. 3:23). This
was not over six months after the ministry of John the Baptist began,
because Jesus was six months younger than John (Lk. 1:36). From Luke
3:1, we find John began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius
No matter what chronological scheme we adopt, we cannot allow more than
30 years between Jesus' birth and the beginning of His public ministry
(Lk. 3:23). Many authorities place the beginning of Tiberius's reign
around AD 11 (or 12). Add 15 years to that and we get AD 26 (or 27).
Deduct, 30 years from AD 26 and we arrive at around 4 or 5 BC. Now we
know that Herod the Great, who received the wise men and later sought
Jesus' life, died in March, 4 BC, evidently shortly after the Bethlehem
massacre. The wise men of necessity arrived before the massacre, hence
before March, 4 BC, but just as obviously after Jesus was presented at
the temple when He was 40 days old (Lk. 2:22-24; Lev. 12:1-4; Num.
8:17). We say this because it would have been fatal for Joseph and Mary
to take Jesus up to the temple after Herod's jealousy and fury had been
aroused by the possibility of a rival king. So, how long after Jesus was
40 days old and how long before the massacre, we do not know. But the
time area is restricted by the time of Herod's death.
- But because of the time of the death of Herod (March,
4 BC) and the time of the beginning of John's ministry (AD 26), and
hence Jesus' ministry, the period between Jesus' birth and the incidents
of the arrival of wise men and the massacre, the death of Herod could
not have been more than six months later and probably less. At any event
the family was no longer in the inn's grotto but in a "house" (v. 11).
Here is a chart to help us understand the time
- The fallacy in the whole matter has been the
assumption that the first appearance of the star signaled the time at
which Jesus was born. The Scripture nowhere says this. Certainly Herod
assumed this, but Herod is not a safe guide! Now, it is evident that the
time the wise men first saw the star (v. 7) was the guiding factor in
Herod's decision to slay all male children two years old and under (v.
16). But it is apparent from the dates cited in the chart above that the
appearance of the star could not have been the time of the birth of
Jesus, for that would have made His birth take place in 6 BC or before,
and AD 26 would have then been when He was 32 years of age instead of 30
when He began His public ministry (Lk. 3:23).
So, it is evident that the star's first appearance was God's, way of
alerting the wise men. First, they had to "decide what it meant
(according to Num. 24:17). Then, they had to choose those who would make
the journey and prepare for it. Finally, they would have to travel the
long distance, at least from Persia ("magus" means "great" and is a
Persian tide for teachers or wise men), visit Herod at Jerusalem, and go
to Bethlehem. Then, Herod would have to wait for them to return,
discover his command was ignored, and order and carry out the massacre.
All this would take a substantial amount of time and account for perhaps
1 to 1 1/2 years. Since Herod was cunning and eager to destroy any
possible rival to the throne, he no doubt added a margin of perhaps six
months to the time the wise men said the star had appeared (v. 16) as a
safety precaution to be sure to include Jesus in the slaughter. This
would obviously be necessary both because it is difficult to distinguish
a child's exact age at 18 months to 2 years, and mothers would certainly
lie about a son's age. Thus a sufficient margin would be necessary to
assure success of his plan.
TRIP TO EGYPT
'And they presented.. .gifts" (2:11). The long..and costly journey
to Egypt, as well as sustenance for the family in a strange land where
work would be difficult to obtain, were cared for providentially by the
costly gifts of the wise men, Thus did the heavenly Father provide for
His dear Son!
Before proceeding to Matthew 3, it would be helpful to read Luke 2:40-52
and follow the order of events in Addendum I, section II.
Also, the following poem is helpful on this section. That
much-appreciated hymn writer, Mrs. C. F. Alexander, wrote in 1848 of the
events of this chapter in the following well-chosen words, entitled Once
in Royal David's City.
- Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
- He came down to earth from heaven;
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.
- For He is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day like us He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
- And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heav'n above;
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
Another appropriate poem concerning our Lord's early life says:
Where Joseph plies his trade
Lo! Jesus labors, too;
The hands that all things made
An earthly craft pursue,
That weary men in Him may rest,
And faithful toil through Him be blest!
- His PERSONAL right to be King 3 ("my beloved Son"
- A forerunner's announcement 3J.-12
It is significant that no one is ever reported to have asked John what he
meant by "the kingdom of heaven." Everyone understood he meant the
earthly, literal kingdom, founded on righteous, spiritual bases, promised
for hundreds of years through the prophets, and which would confirm the
covenant of God with David (2 Sam. 7). Israel had wandered from God and
needed to repent in order to be eligible to receive the soon-coming King.
It has remained for later (and Gentile) commentators to dream up the idea
that this kingdom announced here was not the kingdom prophesied in the Old
Testament, but only a "spiritual" kingdom in men's hearts!
John faithfully warned Israel of national setting aside in judgment, if
they did not repent (v. 10), and he warned rejecting individuals of
eternal loss (v. 12, "unquenchable fire"). It was because Jesus had not
yet judged the chaff that John, while in prison, sent messengers to make
sure he had not been mistaken (11:3).
- A Father's approval 3:13-17
Since our Lord was born without sin, and had not committed any sin, it
seemed unfitting that He should present Himself to receive "the" baptism
of repentance for the remission of sins" (Lk. 3:3). So John demurred (v.
14). But Jesus insisted (v. 15).
The whole Godhead shared in this event: The Son was baptized; the Spirit
descended; and the Father voiced approval (vv. 16-17). Thus the Tri-unity
appears on the very "Title-Page" of the New Testament.
Sin brought His fellow-countrymen here (vv. 5-6). Righteousness brought
Jesus here (v. 15). He devoted Himself to the accomplishment of salvation
by His death, burial, and resurrection. Which were here pictured by
His-baptism (Jn. 10:17).
Our Lord's baptism is an important event. Involved in the commendation of
verse 17 is the Father's approval of:
- Our Lord's "silent years" of obedience to His parents
(Lk. 2:40, 51-52).
- Our Lord's caring for His widowed mother and
half-brothers and sisters (13:55-56) after His foster father's death,
occurring according to tradition soon after Luke 2:41-51 (presumably).
Thus the load of responsibility fell on Him at a comparatively youthful
- Our Lord's spiritual yearning for His Father's Word
and House (Isa. 50:4-5; Lk. 2:49).
- His baptism was the Father's approval of His fitness
to become the representative sacrifice for the sinful nation, yea for
all sinners. By His baptism He pledged Himself in type and symbol
to take their place and, with the Father and Spirit ("thus it becometh
us"), to fulfil (bring to completion) the whole work of righteousness,
through His death on the cross (20:22) and subsequent resurrection (1
Cor. 15:3-4). (Cp. 2 Cor. 5:19a; Heb. 9:14).
"This is My Beloved Son" is the formula for Christ's anointing as
Prophet (here), Priest (17:5), and King (Ps. 2:7).
- His MORAL right to be King 4:1-22 ("get thee hence"
- Temptation 4:1-11
"Get thee hence, " said our Lord. We may wish that we could say that to
Satan. He could command it! No one has a right to rule over others, who
cannot rule over himself. That is why all merely human rulers fail. THIS
ruler is different. He is ruled by heaven; thus He is eligible to rule
over the earth.
- Two major viewpoints concerning the Temptation
- That Christ could have sinned but would not, or He
could have sinned but did not.
Those who hold this view argue that He could have sinned if He had
allowed Himself to give in, but somehow He held out against Satan, but
after a struggle ("suffered being tempted" is so interpreted in Heb.
There are many objections to this view but chiefly this. If our Lord
could have sinned then. He could sin now (or at any time in the
future), and slide off His throne, bringing chaos to the spiritual
universe. We say this because His natures (human and divine) have
not--and will not--change. Thus, by this viewpoint one's salvation
could never be secure or eternal, for Christ might sin at some future
time, if He could have sinned while on earth.
- That Christ could not have sinned.
This is the viewpoint held by this teacher and school. The line of
proof is: Our Lord had two natures as incarnate. His deity nature
could not sin, nor be tempted to sin according to James 1:13. His
human nature was likewise incapable of sin, because it was conceived
of God. (Indeed, the new nature we believers receive in the new birth
cannot? sin. The old nature cannot do anything but sin; the new nature
cannot sin, because it partakes of the nature of God.)
If it be said: "God created Adam holy and he sinned, so Christ could
have sinned, " let it be replied: "God created Adam innocent, not
holy. By obedience, he could have become holy; by disobedience, he
could have become sinful. He chose the latter.
"Further, our Lord was not created; He was procreated (that is, He was
begotten of God--partaking in His human nature of the nature of the
One who begat Him, i.e., His Father by the Spirit through the virgin
womb of Mary). Thus, He was just as incapable of sin as we, in our old
nature, are incapable of righteousness (Rom. 3:9-20; 8:7; Eccl. 7:20).
It was contrary to His NATURE to sin."
Let temptation be likened to a barrel of gunpowder; let my sinful
heart be likened to a furnace. If temptation is allowed to find
lodgment in my heart there will inevitably be an explosion. But if I
take the same barrel of gunpowder and drop it in the river, there is
no explosion. Christ's heart was like the river! The gunpowder
(temptation) is the same; but the response is utterly different
because the constituency of His sinless nature is utterly different
from mine. "He knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21).
But someone may ask: "What then does Hebrews 4:15 mean? Does it not
say that in spite of temptation our Lord did not sin?" No, it says no
such thing. It does not say, as most minds mentally supply, that "He
was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sinning." It
says He can sympathize with our every sinless infirmity because "apart
from sin, HE was put to the test" in everything affecting infirmity.
Infirmity is not sin. Christ is not sympathetic with our sins (He
detests them and disciplines us for them, 1 Cor. 11:31-32).
Thus, the passage means Christ was hungry, tired, tried, betrayed,
disappointed, etc., and experienced physical weakness and terrible
pain. So, no matter what infirmity we are called to bear, Christ can
sympathize with us, for He was the Man of Sorrows. It is true that in
our time of weakness (testing), we are most susceptible to temptation
to sin, but that is because we have an old nature. He was not
susceptible, though Satan thought He would be and attacked at His
"weakest" moment of infirmity (after 40 days fasting, Mt. 4:2). It is
evident that the phrase "yet without sin" does not have the thought
usually attributed to it, as a comparison of the same phrase in
Hebrews 9:28 will show. Obviously, in each case, it means "apart from
sin, " i.e., sin is not the issue in question, and might be
paraphrased "entirely apart from the sin question. "
"But," someone else may say," Hebrews 2:18 says Christ suffered in
temptation, thus He experienced a moral struggle." We answer: "No, the
verse does not say that. It does not say that He suffered, like we do,
IN the very process of temptation. (Temptation is a very painful
experience to us--the very process of struggling to say "no.") The
verse rather says "He suffered BEING tempted."
A son who really loved his banker father would be scandalized, pained,
grieved, and insulted if some friend, working in that bank with him,
took him aside and tried to persuade him to betray his father and
steal from "quiet" savings accounts in the bank. He would not struggle
against the temptation and find it hard to say "no" (i.e., "suffer in
the temptation"); but he would suffer in the fact that anyone would
dream he would be so disloyal and treacherous as to cheat his father
(i.e., "suffer, being tempted"). If an earthly son would be pained by
such a suggestion from a thief, how do you think the Heavenly Son felt
in response to Satan's attempt to have Him betray His beloved Father?
You guessed it--"GET THEE HENCE!" Get out before I throw you out (Mt.
In both Hebrews passages cited, it is our Lord's merciful High
Priesthood which is the context. What we need, when tempted, is succor
not sympathy (2:18). In our infirmity, we may be tempted to sin, but
infirmity is not sin. Thus, He sympathizes with us in our infirmities,
and succors us when Satan, taking advantage of our infirmities, seeks
to solicit us to sin. Thus, His mercy is evidenced.
- If our Lord could not have sinned, what then was the
purpose of the Temptation?
To prove to Satan, demons, sinful and defeated men, that here at last
was One who could defeat Satan and had the moral right to rule!
Though each attempt emanated from Satan as a solicitation to evil (i.e.,
temptation), yet, because of Christ's nature (remember the illustration
of the river), it did not strike Christ as a temptation--as we usually
conceive it--but as a TEST OF CHARACTER. His character was proven
perfect, having no trace of a flaw. It was a positive, rather than a
negative result. The temptation was NOT TO SEE IF CHRIST WOULD SIN, BUT
TO PROVE THAT HE COULDN'T! Amen! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
I am no engineer and the figures I cite below are entirely fictitious
and only for the purpose of illustration; but if a bridge were planned
to be built with the specification that it must be able to bear 100, 000
Ibs. to the square foot, and the engineer put in material that would
stand the strain of 500, 000 Ibs.; and if the bridge should be thought
of as a reasonable being, both it and the contractor would KNOW it could
NOT fall. Any public demonstration would be to prove what they already
knew! The first Niagara Suspension Bridge, for example.
- What then is the value to us of the record of
Twofold: It is instructive as to
- the areas in which Satan assaults;
- the way to defeat Satan.
- The AREAS are threefold (cp. Gen. 3:6; 1 Jn.
- The BODY--the sphere of bodily
appetites--"hungry … stones to bread."
Eve saw the tree was "good for food" = "the lust of the flesh. "
Bodily appetites are natural and not inherently sinful. But
through yielding to them out of the will of God, Satan seeks to
get us to sin.
Hunger, whether of stomach or sex, etc., is not sin. God made us
this way. We sin when we satisfy hunger in a way God does not
Life is more than existence. We may exist by bread but not LIVE!
- The MIND -- the sphere of intellectual
curiosity -- "pinnacle … not dash foot."
Eve saw the tree was "pleasant to the eyes" = "the lust of the
The mind plays tricks on us. The unregenerate mind does not think
spiritually. It thinks, "If Jesus should float down from the
pinnacle of the temple, the crowd would acclaim Him. Just put God
to the test and see if He will do what He said He would do" (Ps.
91:11-12)! We are ever tempted to change faith to sight.
But faith needs no proof; faith never puts God to the test "to see
if." Before faith comes, it may look unreasonable; when we
believe, it is most reasonable! Man does not reach faith through
reason; God reaches our reason through our faith. The man of faith
refuses to seek signs. He rests in confidence in God's character.
- The SPIRIT -- the sphere of spiritual
sovereignty -- "bow down … worship." Eve saw "a tree to be desired
to make one wise" = "the pride of life."
Satan offered the kingdoms of this world. This was no empty
gesture (2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 14:30). Satan offered what looked like
sovereignty (kingdoms), but Christ would have become a subordinate
("bow down") by accepting his proposition. "Why not take what I
offer now? Why wait for God to give it to you? Bypass the cross;
take the crown now." But our Lord will take NOTHING until the
Father gives it to Him. Only in subjection to God are we free
agents (Jn. 8:31-36). Anything less is slavery to sin. God MUST be
supreme. "No man can serve two masters."
- The WAY to defeat Satan.
- We must learn the Kingdom is
spiritual in its NATURE: no materialism,
spiritual in its METHODS: avoids sensationalism,
spiritual in its RESOURCES: no compromise with evil.
- Our Lord's method was
absolute dependence upon the Father (Temptation 1)
absolute confidence in the Father (Temptation 2)
absolute obedience to the Father (Temptation 3)
- Our Lord's weapon was the Word of God!
Three times He quotes from Scripture (Dt. 8:3; 6:16; 6:13), not at
random or in general, but correctly, precisely, skillfully, like
three flashing sword-thrusts through Satan's guard, leaving gaping
wounds in His adversary, Satan (James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). WE HAVE
THE SAME SWORD! Let us learn to use it! Satan left Him and angels
ministered to Him.
Now, let us return to our outline. Our first section of the
(1. Temptation 4:1-11), followed by
- Proclamation 4:12-17
At this point look back at Addendum I, section II; note all the events
from (7)-(17) which follow the Temptation.
Satan thought he had gotten rid of John’s message by getting John out of
the way -- into prison. He failed to realize John's message was not his
own but Heaven's message and could not be stopped.
Here Jesus takes up the message--the same message--right where His
forerunner left off! A "great light" is seen in Galilee in fulfilment of
prophecy (w.14-16; Isa. 9:1-2, ASV).
- Propagation 4:18-22
Here Jesus chooses the first four disciples to help propagate the gospel
of the Kingdom. They are handy fishermen. They are now to fish for men
(Lk. 5:10)! This is a call to service, not salvation (see Jn. 1,
especially 29-42). Their obedience was immediate. Is ours?
- His JUDICIAL right to be King 4:23-7:29 ("authority"
- The setting 4:32-5:1
His healing attracts; His preaching amazes; His teaching repels! Here is a
strange situation (5:1); the preacher has a crowd but leaves it and goes
up into the mountain to talk to His own! Thus, this is not a message to
the mass of men, but to those who professed to acknowledge His authority
to rule over them (i.e.. His disciples -- "learners").
- The sermon -- THE CODE OF THE KINGDOM 5:2-7:27
In this school we understand that what John the Baptist announced as about
to be offered, and what our Lord offered directly (and through His
apostles) was the long-promised Messianic kingdom, announced to David and
covenanted in 2 Samuel 7 through Nathan, and affirmed through all the
prophets, as one which is to be set up on earth; a literal, earthly
kingdom, founded indeed on spiritual and righteous bases, but not to be
confused with the traditional conception of Christendom that what Christ
asked was merely the privilege of ruling over the hearts of men—the
"spiritual kingdom" idea. Certainly, He intended to rule over the hearts
of all who received His claims, but He had done this in every age. No, the
kingdom spoken of here is to be set up on earth with Jerusalem as the
capital (5:35). It is the throne of David, as historic a throne as the
throne of the House of Savoy or of the Hapsburgs or of the English throne
lines. (See Luke 1:30-33; Mark 11:7-10; John 1:49; etc.)
This, then, is the King's INAUGURAL ADDRESS or MANIFESTO, stating to those
then anticipating this kingdom the principles upon which He will govern
His kingdom, when it is set up on earth and the character of the citizens
who will compose that kingdom. Thus, these principles were binding upon
those who, in His earthly ministry, accepted His kingly claims in
anticipation of the day He will reign on earth.
During the period of the King's rejection by Israel (for His claims were
refused and these laws of the Kingdom put in abeyance), the moral
applications of this sermon are accepted by all who acknowledge the King's
right to rule, but the precise details must necessarily await the days
immediately before, and entering into, the actual establishment of the
Kingdom on earth, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in glory (cp. Rev.
This is how our school's emphasis varies from the traditional emphasis of
Christendom. They say that this is the Christian's code of life. We say
that, although all Scripture is for us and may be applied to our spiritual
welfare, not all Scripture is to us. This sermon is law taken to the nth
The Sermon is in three movements: Introduction (5:2-20); the Inner Message
(5:21-7:12); the Conclusion (7:13-27).
- INTRODUCTION 5:2-20
- Beatitudes - 5:2-12 - The blessedness of the godly
(The necessity of righteousness)
(Be-attitudes: We must be before we can do.)
- Similitudes 5:13-16 The effectiveness of the godly
(Power and pervasiveness of righteousness: Colossians 4:6--Salt; John
- Attitudes 5:17-20 The quality of godliness required
Christ's attitude toward Scripture (17-18), moral law (19),
righteousness (20). Note: There must be a genuine, inward
righteousness (20). We must know Christ as Saviour. before we know Him
- THE INNER MESSAGE of the Sermon 5:21-7:12
In these verses our Lord traces sin back of the overt act to the motive
which interprets and gives direction to the deed. It is interesting that
our Lord discusses TEN "laws" which remind us of an expanded TEN
"commandments, " though they do not parallel each other numerically.
- FIRST LAW: concerning Anger 5:21-26
- SECOND LAW: concerning Purity 5:27-32
- THIRD LAW: concerning Speaking the Truth 5:33-37
- FOURTH LAW: concerning Retaliation 5:38-42
- FIFTH LAW: concerning Loving our Enemies 5:43-48
- SIXTH LAW: concerning Almsgiving, Prayer, and
Fasting 6:1-18 (See Addendum for a discussion on the interpretation
and use of "The Lord's Prayer.")
- SEVENTH LAW: concerning Earthly Treasure 6:19-34
- EIGHTH LAW: concerning Criticising Our Brother
- NINTH LAW: concerning Prayer 7:7-11
- TENTH LAW: The "Golden" Rule 7:12 (contrast The
"Platinum" Rule, Eph. 4:32)
NOTE: The interpretation of a passage is its primary application--the
meaning basically intended for the people primarily addressed. The
application of a passage refers to secondary, spiritual truths,
generally applying in principle (not details). There may be many
applications for people of other ages or conditions, but there is only
one interpretation. Examples of details which will be appropriate to
the time the King will reign in Jerusalem, but not to the period in
which we of the Church now live, may be found in verses like 5:24-26,
29-30, 42. So, look at primary and secondary applications of the
Sermon on the Mount as charted below:
Perhaps it would be helpful to explain the preceding chart. Let P
represent the Primary application, i.e., the interpretation. Let
indicate that at times there are Secondary moral and spiritual
applications, but not primary, because the passage or portion is not
primarily to the Church, but to Jews who had become disciples of the
King and were anticipating the imminent possibility of the setting up
of that long promised kingdom (Lk. 1:30-33; Mt. 2:2; 4:17; 10:7).
The fact that an insufficient number repented and became disciples of
the King (at the time of His first coming) made necessary a delay in
the setting up of His earthly kingdom, awaiting the repentance of a
substantial part of the nation Israel in a day future to our age (the
parenthetic church age), when the message of the gospel of the kingdom
will again call men to repent and anticipate the coming of the King to
establish His kingdom on earth (Rom. 11:11-36, particularly vv. 15,
23-26; Acts 3:19-21; Mt. 23:37-39; 10:6-7, 23; 24:21-22, 27-29; Rev.
- CONCLUSION: The King's Discriminating Tests 7:13-27
Note "the multitude" has followed on up the mountain and evidently by
this time has joined "the disciples" (7:28), so that the close of the
sermon is a series of contrasts between the false and true (7:13-27).
Thus, our Lord was particularly aiming at the "multitude" as well as the
false among professed disciples in this conclusion:
- A false way 13-14
- False teachers 15-20
- False professors 21-23
- False foundations 24-27
- The sequel 7:28-29 The effect of the King's authority:
As we close this section on the CODE OF THE KINGDOM, we see the sequel is
their utter astonishment at our Lord's authority (cp. Mt. 16:5, ".. .hear
ye HIM!"). He does not quote the sayings of famous rabbis or merely rebuke
their false conclusions, but goes much farther. He interprets, evaluates,
revises, and supersedes Moses (i.e., the O.T.) with His "… but I say unto
you." Only One who is "God manifest in the flesh" can speak ex cathedra
and with such finality. No wonder HE has the judicial right to rule as
- His PROPHETIC right to be King.—8:1-11:1
He did what the prophets said He would do in regard to "the blind, lame,
lepers, deaf, dead, poor" (11:4-5). Somewhat as a salesman would open his
sample case to demonstrate what his products are like, in His earth-life our
Lord showed man a sample of what it will be like when, at long last, He
rules and reigns over the earth. When Christ returns, the curse of Genesis 3
will be taken from nature and the bodies of men--disease will vanish, the
blind will see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, death indefinitely postponed
by longevity, the savagery of beasts removed, and a thousand wonderful
things happen (e.g., Isa. 11; 61; 62; 65:20, etc.)
In addition to being samples of the coming kingdom age, these signs
authenticated our Lord as being the Christ of God (Jn. 20:30-31; 21:25), and
His message as coming with Heaven's authority. Matthew gathers these
incidents from various times in Christ's ministry to show His right to be
king. They are not in chronological order.
- The King's authority demonstrated 8:1-9:34
- His authority over men's BODIES 8:1-18
These mighty miracles may also be used to illustrate the healing of our
sin sick souls by His gracious forgiveness.
- Leprosy pictures the loathsomeness of sin 8:1-4
- Palsy pictures the enfeeblement of sin 8:5-13
- Fever pictures the suffering of sin 8:14-15
- "Divers diseases" picture the prevalence of sin
- His authority over men's SOULS 8:19-22
- His authority over the realm of NATURE 8:23-27
- His authority over the realm of SPIRITS (demons)
- His authority over the realm of SOUL-SICKNESS (and
(including the call of Matthew, 9:9)
- Result: the Great Physician praised and blasphemed
(Note particularly v.34 and cp. 12:22-24 later.)
- The King's compassion and commission 9:35-11:1 (Key:
- Christ's compassion on spiritually scattered Israel
- Christ's choosing of the Twelve 10:1-4
- Christ's commissioning of the Twelve 10:5-15
Two great principles are involved in our Lord's instruction in vv.8-15.
First, greater light brings greater responsibility and judgment if that
light is rejected.
Second, the principle of identification:
- a town is represented by the elders' acceptance or
- acceptance or rejection of Christ's claims are
proved by one's attitude and action toward those who bear His message.
The principle is formally affirmed by the prophecy of 25:31-46.
Any misconception that these verses constitute the missionary marching
orders of the Church in this age should be corrected by reference to
Luke 22:35-36. No, these are the King's Jewish heralds who have right
to the best entertainment the town can provide--if the townspeople
really believe the KING'S claims (v. 11).
- Christ's comment and prophecy concerning the
treatment of His heralds, then and future 10:16-23
NOTE: The emphasis become more and more future as this paragraph
proceeds, climaxing with Christ's return (v.23). Though generally
fulfilled in part at that time and more fully in the days of the early
Church, as well as in various eras of Church history, the final and full
fulfilment awaits the period after the Church is removed from the earth.
At that time (the tribulation period), the sharp division between those
who follow the Anti-Christ (seen and present), and those who are waiting
for God's true Christ (unseen and imminently expected, v.23) will become
especially evident and painful, even dividing those within families (w.
- The crux is the cross applied to one's daily life
10:24-11:1 A clear-cut decision, in this age and that to come,
invariably leads to suffering (cp. Acts 14:21-22; 2 Tim. 2:10-12).
All true service must enter into the experience of His death (Jn.
12:24-28; cp. Phil. 3:10).
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