Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:23-24

Matthew 5:23-24

So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift.
(NET Bible)
Note: any Bible reference containing only a chapter number and verse number is understood to be in the Gospel of Matthew.

The feelings of others

The largest room in my home church is called a Worship Center. In light of what Jesus says in todays Bible passage, perhaps we should build a larger room and call it the Reconciliation Center. Alternatively, we could simply start doing what Jesus says, no matter what we call it!

Yesterday, we developed the idea that Jesus has great concern for our actions, feelings and attitudes toward others (5:21-22). Today the focus shifts away from us to the inner life of others. To be a disciple of Jesus means you must be concerned about how others feel about you, not just about how you feel about them.

Note carefully that the person in 5:23 — the word you is singular — is involved in an important spiritual activity: bringing a gift to the altar as an offering to God. There he recalls that his brother has an issue against him. This concept casts a very big net; has something against you (5:23) could also be translated has anything against you. Anything!

R.T. France reminds us of some basic facts: 1) such an offering could only be made at the temple in Jerusalem, and 2) Jesus spoke these words to his disciples in Galilee. He says Jesus envisages a worshipper who has travelled some eighty miles to Jerusalem with his offering (probably a sacrificial animal), who then leaves the animal in the temple while he makes a journey of a week or more to Galilee and back again to effect a reconciliation with his offended brother or sister before he dares to present his offering.[1] Wow!

So, todays passage makes a very simple point. Keener summarizes it by saying that a disciples relationship to God partly depends on how the disciple treats others.[2] Walking away from damaged relationships displeases God. A disciple may not find reconciliation, but they are obligated to seek it.

Broken toys

Those of us who are parents know that broken toys get abandoned. In the case of toys, that does not matter very much. But adults quite frequently have the same attitude toward broken relationships. Jesus demands a higher standard from his disciples!

After writing this lesson, I had just sat down in the Worship Center when I realized that a lady down the aisle was someone I had offended and now avoided. The Spirit impelled me down that aisle and onto one knee to apologize. She graciously accepted my apology and we were reconciled before the worship service began. That felt very good!

This subject of reconciliation is more important than you and I have thought. Would not today be a good day to set matters right with someone you know?

Copyright 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 203.

[2] Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999) 185.

 

Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:21–22

Matthew 5:21-22
“You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell.”
(NET Bible)
Note: any Bible reference containing only a chapter number and verse number is understood to be in the Gospel of Matthew.

Feelings and taunts have God’s attention

In 1956, The Four Lads became famous when their song “Standing on the Corner” reached number 3 on the Billboard charts. The young man in the song watches all the girls go by and celebrates the fact that “you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking.” Is that so?

Jesus makes it clear that our every feeling and word receive the attention of heaven’s court. What is decided there goes far beyond jail! Just because you are not a murderer is no reason to feel smug about your standing with God. Have you considered your thoughts and feelings?

A new frame of reference

When the NET Bible translates “it was said to an older generation” (5:21), you get the erroneous impression that a recent generation is meant. But the NET’s Notes reveal that the Greek phrase means the ancient ones. “Do not murder” (Exod. 20:13) was a command given to Moses at Mount Sinai — over a thousand years before Jesus — as part of what we call the Ten Commandments.

Like the young man in the song, who felt no danger from what he was thinking, many Jews in Jesus’ day felt self-assured about keeping the law. After all, “Do not murder” is easy to keep — right? In teaching his disciples the righteousness required to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus opens with the law of murder, a topic the disciples were already counting in their own favor. Killing another person makes one “answerable to judgment” (5:21, my translation).

By the time Jesus finished speaking the words recorded in 5:22, none of his disciples was comfortable anymore! Far from focusing only on the outward act of murder, God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). R.T. France says: “The actual committing of murder is only the outward manifestation of an inward attitude which is itself culpable, whether or not it actually issues in the act of murder.”[1]

Jesus tells his disciples that anger with their brother will make them answerable to judgment (5:22a). Anger is an emotion, and it presents danger. It is easy to reach the erroneous conclusion that all anger is sin, but Paul actually commands, “Be angry and do not sin” (Eph 4:26). The NET Bible’s Notes say, “Christians are to exercise a righteous indignation over sin in the midst of the believing community.”[2] We are made in God’s image, and we may experience righteous anger for the same reason God does: encountering sin in the form of injustice, mistreatment, exploitation or disobedience. For example, Jesus angrily drove the money changers out of the Temple (21:12–17).

But the surprises are far from over! Jesus imagines first that a disciple calls his brother raka, which means numskull or fool (5:22), making the speaker answerable to judgment. Then, whoever calls his brother a fool will run the risk of the hell’s fire (5:22). These insults are hard to distinguish. In 23:17, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees fools, showing that the mere act is not sin.

Some scholars think the background lies in the story of the brothers Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1-8). After becoming very angry with Abel — without a cause — Cain invited him to the fields where Cain murdered Abel. God even warned Cain of his danger (Gen. 4:6–7), but he did not listen.

In every case within Matthew 5, Jesus was dealing with feelings, attitudes and words that could — in the worse case — lead to murder. Our evening news and morning papers are replete with examples of death that began with anger or insult. Jesus told his disciples that God will evaluate not only murder but any inward feeling or outward word that creates a context promoting evil.

The demands of discipleship

Jesus looks within those who would be his disciples. That is why such externals like attending church or even serving in some capacity only form the surface of what he considers. Our every thought, feeling, and word will be subject to judgment by our Lord. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to mature inwardly as well as outwardly.

The Apostle James frequently deals with themes from the Sermon on the Mount:

“Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you?” (James 4:1).

Our challenge is to allow the Holy Spirit to mold our lives to be more like Jesus inside and out!

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 199.

[2] Net Bible’s Notes for Ephesians 4:26.

 

Sermon on the Mount — Matthew 5:19-20

Matthew 5:19–20
“So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(NET Bible)
Note: any Bible reference containing only a chapter number and verse number is understood to be in the Gospel of Matthew.

The incentive to be careful about the details

“Don’t sweat the small stuff!” is a once-popular idea that many still embrace. In certain contexts that idea probably works well, but I do not advise you to tell the police officer that you were only driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.  :)

Trivializing the laws of man is nothing compared to making light of the laws of God. In first-century Jewish society, people would seek counsel from a scribe or rabbi to determine what they were obligated to do before God and what they might safely ignore. The language used to describe the rabbi’s answers included the verbs bind and loose. If the rabbi binds the commandment upon you, then he is saying it is your spiritual duty. If he looses the commandment, he is saying that, for some reason, the requirement does not apply to you.

The NET Bible is adequate when it translates “anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands” (5:19), but ESV translates better by saying “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments.” The underlying Greek verb is λύω, and it means to loose or untie something. In practical terms, Jesus is speaking of a rabbi who teaches that someone can ignore one of God’s commands; the rabbi looses the person from obeying that command.

As to the least of these commands (5:19), one example would be Deut. 22:6–7, which forbids the removal of a mother bird from a bird nest containing eggs or chicks. Some rabbis considered that among the least commands. What does Jesus say about the least commands of the law?

Jesus continues to reinforce his position on the law by saying that anyone who relaxes the least commandment and teaches others to do so will be least in the kingdom of heaven (5:19). You can see in this result a rule of reciprocity —the idea that the punishment fits the crime — in that one least leads to another. R.T. France has it right when he says: “Jesus at first sight appears more merciful than the rabbis: one who breaks the commandment is least in the kingdom rather than excluded from it altogether (5:19); yet his following words show that those who merely honored the highest standards of their religion [while neglecting the others] fell short of entering the kingdom at all (5:20).”[1]

All that Jesus has said up to this point has been remarkable, but when he uttered the words given in 5:20, I think his audience was shocked into silence. The scribes and Pharisees represented “the greatest righteousness imaginable within Judaism.”[2] Jesus thought otherwise!

Jesus says to his disciples that their righteousness must exceed that of their religious leaders if they want to enter the kingdom of heaven. But he states the matter in extreme terms by using the strongest possible negative that New Testament Greek offers[3]; they will absolutely not enter the kingdom without manifesting the higher righteousness he demands.

R.T. France correctly observes, “Jesus is not talking about beating the scribes and Pharisees at their own game, but about a different level or concept of righteousness altogether.”[4] What is that righteousness? We will develop Jesus’ teaching over time. For now, I will say that this righteousness begins with a personal relationship, a faith commitment, to Jesus the Messiah. That is something the scribes and Pharisees did not have and could not offer. Only those who have such a relationship, and the transformed heart that goes with it, will enter the kingdom of heaven.

The most vital details

The first and foremost detail for entering the kingdom of God is that it all begins with Jesus. Those who will enter the kingdom must come through him. Only he can properly interpret the law and provide his disciples with the Holy Spirit to quicken their minds and hearts in all relevant ways. Only Jesus could die for our sins to reconcile us to God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Those are the most vital details, but not the only ones!

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 179.

[2] Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992) 105.

[3] BDAG-3, μή, not (see meaning 4 for a combination with οὐ), q.v.

[4] R.T. France, Matthew, 189.

 

Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:17-18

Matthew 5:17-18

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.
(NET Bible)

Eliminating spiritual ignorance

Let there be no doubt that, even at this early stage of his ministry, Jesus was drawing so much attention that theological opposition was bound to start. So, in Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus likely had two purposes: 1) to teach accurately his own relationship to the law of Moses, and 2) to forestall future accusations that he was trying to overthrow the law.

Jesus did not come to head a political revolution, much to the consternation of many people. Judea had been roiled by wars and invasions until the reign of Herod the Great (starting in 37 B.C. and ending in 4 B.C.), who was appointed by the Roman Senate. Rome began ruling Judea directly through governors — called procurators — in A.D. 6. The Jews hated foreign rule.

So, Jesus did not come to overthrow Roman rule, and he did not come to invalidate the law of Moses. However, it will soon become clear that Jesus did intend to invalidate the interpretation of the law given by the scribes and Pharisees (5:20). They had watered down the laws requirements in a way that promoted the idea that keeping the literal requirements was all that God demanded. R.T. France says, From now on it will be the authoritative teaching of Jesus which must govern his disciples understanding and practical application of the law.[1]

How does Jesus fulfill the law and the prophets? Turner says that he brings them to their divinely appointed goal, because they point to him.[2] NT scholar Stanley Toussaint adds that Jesus conformed his life to the laws high standards and retrieved its true meaning from the distorted standards of the religious leaders.[3] The book of Hebrews adds a lot more to demonstrate the supremacy of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood to the old covenant given through Moses!

To underscore his support of the law, Jesus says that the smallest letter in the OT text (the Hebrew letter yod) will not pass away until everything in this present creation has happened (5:18a). He argues from the lesser to the greater — thus intensifying his argument — by adding that not even a stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until the end. In English that is the difference between the symbol for the number one (1) and the symbol for a lower case letter L (l). That difference is almost too tiny to see!

Do you feel the forcefulness of Jesus words? If so, then you understand that he regarded the Scriptures with the utmost respect. And he sought to eliminate faulty spiritual assumptions. One such faulty assumption is that Christians should look to the law of Moses rather than to Jesus for the instruction they need.

Jesus is the teacher for every disciple

Jesus began his teaching by dealing with what kind of people his disciples must be (Matt. 5:1-16). He continued by revealing where he stood in relation to the law God had given Israel through Moses. We have just begun with the startling interpretation Jesus gave to the law. More will follow!

If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, then consider how seriously you must take his words: Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. (Matt. 7:24-25).

A word to the wise: check your spiritual assumptions against Jesus words. Build on the rock!

Copyright 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 183.

[2] David L. Turner, Matthew, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008) 162.

[3] Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold the King (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1980) 99.

 

Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:13-16

Matthew 5:13-16

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.
(NET Bible)

Vibrant lives convey a powerful message!

If you watch any television, you receive steady bombardment from advertising claims. Our special plan will let you lose 40 pounds in 40 days! Our technical training will put you in a high-paying job for life! Buy our car and circulate among the elite! We have a constant challenge in trying to separate what has eternal value from what does not.

Jesus wants his disciples to demonstrate authentic kingdom values to a watching world. Do you have the right stuff?

Our Bible text for today has been the subject of great analysis, some of it needlessly subtle. R.T. France seems to have the right idea when he says, It is important that disciples should both be different and be seen to be different.[1] Keener adds that Jesus has just explained the appropriate lifestyle for his disciples and now says that any alleged disciple who does not live the kingdom lifestyle is worth about as much as tasteless salt or invisible light.[2]

Putting matters positively, Jesus uses a metaphor when he flatly states, You are the salt of the earth (5:13a). It is quite clear that salt was critical to the function of the ancient world, largely as a food preservative and for flavoring food. A world without adequate salt would have been much more primitive.

Jesus next describes a hypothetical situation in which salt loses its distinctive qualities or flavor. Then he asks a question: By what will it be re-salted?[3] (5:13b). Jesus answers his own rhetorical question by saying such material is good for nothing! The implication is that a disciple who is not living for the kingdom will similarly be cast aside. By whom? This is again a divine passive; such a disciple will be cast away by God.

Before we go on, you must know that we are not speaking here about loss of salvation. Instead, we must recall that huge crowds are following Jesus, and even among his disciples are those of varying commitment. Always remember the presence of Judas, and you will realize that it is easy to make false assumptions about Jesus disciples. Jesus never made that mistake! Judas later sold his master for 30 silver coins (Matt. 26:15), but that did not buy him any new friends (Matt. 27:4).

The second metaphor Jesus uses is much easier; he calls his own the light of the world (5:14). Jesus stresses visibility in two further images: a city set on a hilltop (5:14) and a lamp placed on a lampstand in a home (5:15). These metaphors are about the effect which the life of Jesus disciples will have on those around them. R.T. France says, The job description of a disciple is not fulfilled by private personal holiness, but includes the witness of public exposure.[4]

Of what does this light consist? Matthew 5:16 makes it clear that good deeds seen by others are the essence of what Jesus expects from his disciples. It is interesting that Jesus credits unbelieving people with the insight to honor God for the good deeds performed by the disciples.

Do you have the right stuff?

Sometimes we Protestants lean so hard on grace that Christians begin to think that the phrase good works is a contradiction in terms! Turner goes so far as to say, A so-called disciple without good works is of no more value than tasteless salt or an invisible lamp.[5]

Jesus taught and worked miracles in all types of public settings. Like salt we must be distinctive. Like light we must engage the dark watching world. In doing so, we are following the example of our Lord!

Copyright 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 173.

[2] Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 172.

[3] My translation, following BDAG-3, tis, what? q.v.

[4] France, Matthew, 176.

[5] David L. Turner, Matthew, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008) 156.

 

Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:7-9

Matthew 5:7-9

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
(NET Bible)
Note: any Bible reference containing only a chapter number and verse number is understood to be in the Gospel of Matthew.

Behavior toward others is part of mercy

The strange thing about mercy is that it is never about what the other person has done; mercy is always about the heart of the person showing it or withholding it. Whether you are ready to enter the kingdom of God will be measured by your willingness to show mercy by your actions. Is that a problem?

Since anyone who recognizes their own sin needs mercy from God above all, the reward promised by 5:7 is a powerful motivator. Note that the second half of verse 7 is in passive voice. This use of passive voice is called a divine passive, meaning that God is the one who will show mercy to the merciful. Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace says, That God is behind the scenes is self-evidently part of the worldview of the NT writers.[1]

Turner points out, The crucial importance of the theme of mercy for the disciple is repeatedly modeled in Jesus life and teaching (Matt. 6:2-4; 9:27, 36; 15:22; 17:15; 18:33; 20:30).[2] Of course, the greatest act of mercy that Jesus performed was to die for our sins, in our place. Bible scholar Craig Blomberg goes so far as to say that Exodus 34:6 means that mercy may be Gods most fundamental attribute.[3]

The importance of showing mercy as a disciple of Jesus is demonstrated by the command to forgive your brother unendingly (Matt. 18:21-22). That command is followed immediately by the parable of the unmerciful servant (18:23-35), in which those who show no mercy are given none in the last judgment.

The idea extolled in 5:8 is not easy to capture. When I was in the Boy Scouts, we made hot cocoa one morning in camp, but the milk had about as much wind-blown dirt in it as it did cocoa. We drank the stuff, but it was not pure! That helps us get the meaning of pure in this context; the pure heart has no added false motives. Instead, the pure heart is an undivided heart that has a single-minded devotion to God and his kingdom. The person who has only externally-acceptable behavior will not see God.

Matthew 5:9 uses a rare word, translated peacemaker, to describe a person who reconciles enemies. Keener says the word was applied most often to emperors.[4] We, however, serve a Lord who is much higher than an emperor, and he wants us to be an active reconciler of people. Since many are in rebellion against God, we are also to reconcile them to God through Jesus Christ. Those who reconcile enemies and seek to live in harmony with others will be called sons of God (5:9), meaning God approves of their alignment to his ways.

Turner ably summarizes: The chief marks of those who already live under Gods rule are humility toward God and mercy toward people.[5]

A Final Word

Showing mercy can be costly. When I brought my newborn son Scott home from the hospital, my daughter Amy, age three, was delighted to see him. After a few minutes she quietly slipped away to her room.

Amy was the proud owner of two security blankets, her most highly treasured possessions. As far as she knew, no others existed. When Amy returned with one precious blanket, she gave it to Scott. Hedoesn’thave one, she said. In that moment, Amy was more merciful than anyone I had ever known.

Copyright 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995) 438.

[2] David L. Turner, Matthew, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008) 152.

[3] Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992) 100.

[4] Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 169.

[5] Turner, Matthew, 153.

 

Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:4–6

Matthew 5:4–6
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”
(NET Bible)
Note: any Bible reference containing only a chapter number and verse number is understood to be in the Gospel of Matthew.

Why meek does not mean wimpy

I first want to address something skipped in the previous post: the meaning of blessed. R.T. France discusses the difficulty of capturing this Greek word (makarios) in English by choosing happy over the alternatives blessed, congratulations to, and fortunate. After mentioning my favorite alternative, esteemed, he says, “Beatitudes are descriptions, and commendations, of the good life.” [1] Jesus commends such a life to his followers.

To say that those who mourn are happy (5:4) is clearly nonsense unless you understand that we are not dealing with a feeling here but rather knowledge that God will comfort them. For what do they mourn? Turner says that, rather than mourning over personal sin or misfortune, they probably mourn over persecution that arises over their allegiance to the kingdom.[2]

The idea that God esteems meekness requires explanation. First, the Greek word praus means, “pertaining to not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek.[3] Twice Jesus describes himself using this same Greek adjective, and in these instances the NET Bible translates the word as humble (Matt. 11:29) and unassuming (21:5). Further, Moses was described as the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3). Who would ever say that either Jesus or Moses was not a great leader? Yet both were humble and unassuming. Lovers of swagger, take note!

I like the way Turner puts it: “Once again Jesus goes against the grain of human culture and experience by assuming that the meek — not those well stocked with wealth, armament or status — will inherit the earth.”[4] You should think long and hard about that statement!

In saying that the meek will inherit the earth (5:5), Jesus points forward to the worldwide kingdom he will rule — assisted by the humble — during the millennium, following his second coming (Rev. 20:4).

One of the best ways to understand the phrase hunger and thirst after righteousness (5:6) is to consider what Jesus said in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete his work.” But what kind of righteousness is he talking about?

Matthew must be understood on his own terms. If you import Paul’s meaning for righteousness in Romans into Matthew, you will really be confused. R.T. France says that righteousness in Matthew is “overwhelmingly concerned with right conduct, with living the way God requires.”[5] A really good example is when Jesus allows John the Baptist to baptize him — over John’s protest (3:14) — in order to “fulfill all righteousness” (3:15). Jesus had nothing to repent of, but he wanted to identify with those who did. Jesus exemplified the humility mentioned in the previous verse.

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) 161.

[2] David L. Turner, Matthew, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2008) 150, citing Matt. 5:10–12, 38–48; 10:16–42; 13:21; 23:34; 24:9.

[3] BDAG-3, praus, humble, meek, q.v.

[4] Turner, Matthew, 151.

[5] France, Matthew, 167.