The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 5

Matthew 5

The Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew switches back and forth between periods of intense activity and long sections of teaching. This first summary of Jesus’ message is one of the most powerful messages in history.

This quick commentary can’t do more than touch on this. My favourite commentary on this message is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” which begins with the ominous phrase, “When Jesus calls a man, he calls him to die.”

Beatitudes:

The beatitudes speak of people who have abandoned everything for the Kingdom: they are humbled, grieving, pursuing only God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. They are persecuted, but remain committed to the Gospel of reconciliation. They are salt and light.

The Fulfilment of the Law.

Simply put, nothing Jesus says here contradicts his laws given to Moses. He reveals his heart as law giver.

He once said, “Don’t murder” and reined in malicious rage. Now he finishes the job- he forbids it entirely.

He insists that the way you treat your neighbour is not secondary to the rituals of sacrifice and offering to God. He now says that Loving God without loving your neighbour is not allowed at all.

And so on. with adultery, divorce and Oaths. The Loopholes are closed, love does not practice lust, unfaithfulness, or falsehood.

Once the Lord taught an eye for an eye, and some thought he required vengeance, but now it is clear: he was limiting vengeance, with a view to outlawing it entirely. God will deal with ‘pay back:’ taking the harm of sin on himself, taking the punishment of sin on himself, restoring to the victim what was taken, and offering redemption to the sinner. May be not the payback we wanted - but so much better!

So with our losses completely covered by God, we can seek the good (“love”) even our persecutors.

Lord can we die to our love of loopholes, our love of revenge, our taste for bitterness? Lord can we truly enjoy holy lives, and truly love even our enemies?