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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:14-18 c) Forgiveness and neighbor love

MT6:14 “For, if you forgive the missteps of others[1] your heavenly Father will forgive yours.[2] MT6:15 But, if you do not forgive the missteps[3] of others neither will the Father forgive your missteps. MT6:16 But, when you fast[4] do not be gloomy hypocrites[5] with distorted faces to make fasting obvious.[6] I tell you in truth: They are having their full reward! MT6:17 But, oil your head and wash your face.[7] MT6:18 So you will not be obvious to men in your fasting but secretly[8] to your Father.

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As We Forgive

As We Forgive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[1] Forgive the missteps of others: The first commentary on the Lord’s Prayer was by the Nazarene himself in the verses following it. The Nazarene avoids the word AGAPE (or, love) and gets right to the root of man’s problem in his relations with others: forgiveness. This attribute must characterize the Friend of the Nazarene, for their Lord stands ready to forgive any who repent! (John 3:16) Complaints, even legitimate ones, will occur even among those possessed of the Transformed Mind (Colossians 3:13: complaint). If one does not forgive then all is lost, for God’s forgiveness is voided and any further hypocritical worship is in vain or worthless. One cannot claim discipleship to the Nazarene and at the same time hold a single, unforgiving thought!

[2] Father will forgive yours: Compare James 2:13: mercy. Colossians 3:13 is a virtual commentary on the Nazarene’s words.

[3] Missteps: This Greek PARAPTOMATA is variously rendered: faults, trespasses, false-steps, mistakes.

[4] Fast: (Compare Acts 13:2) Fasting was a regular and normal feature of Jewish life and much mileage could be made from a religious standpoint if one’s motive was to curry the spiritual favor of others. Some religions do not fast but have similar obligations or requirements that give some public evidence of sacrifice.

The word group “fast” occurs 159 times in the Bible and 38 times in the Gospels with a descending order as the particular Gospel ages (Matthew 15x, Mark 13x, Luke 8x, John 2x).

[5] Do not be gloomy hypocrites: Various renderings: RHM: sullen countenances; TCNT: gloomy looks; RSV: do not look dismal; PHI: don’t look like those miserable play-actors; RHM: darken their looks; MOF: they look woebegone; GDSP: they neglect their personal appearance; NOR: trying to make a show.

[6] Make fasting obvious: The motive of fasting is clear. NOR: trying to make it show. Neighbor love enters the picture here because of the affect on one’s neighbor by such a hypocritical showing of religiosity. There are a multitude of other ways to do the same thing.

[7] Oil your head and wash your face: Note Ecclesiastes 9:8: glow. Various renderings: WEY: pour perfume on your hair; PHI: brush your hair. Exactly the opposite of the intent of the hypocritical person fasting. No one will know! Just as in the matter or prayer and charity.

[8] Secretly: The Greek here is related to “cryptic.” PHI: let it be a secret between you and your Father. Nothing can be more thrilling than this intimacy between the disciple and his God: only the two of you know about the object of the prayer, the secret giving, and the private fasting. Does the Nazarene encourage fasting of the proper kind? What would be some conditions or situations in which the Friend of the Nazarene might go without food?

 

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Preceding articles

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love (#Mt 6:1-4)

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love (Mt 6:5-13)

Continued with: d) ‘Treasures’ and neighbor love

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Additional reading

  1. Failures, mistakes and Initiatives for Excellence and success, Working towards turning a Dream of yours into reality
  2. God, my father, my closest friend
  3. I can’t believe that … (4) God’s word would be so violent
  4. Failing Man to make free choice

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Further reading

  1. The great mistake
  2. On Mistakes, Memories and Introversion
  3. Mistakes And Feelings

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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

(#Mt 6:5-13) b) Prayer and neighbor love

|| Luke 11:2-4

MT6:5 “And, when you pray, be not as the hypocrites. For they like to pray standing in religious gatherings and in town squares to be viewed by others.[1] I tell you the truth: They have their full reward! MT6:6 But, you, when you pray, enter your private room and shut the door praying to your Father secretly.[2] And, the Father watching secretly will reward you.[3] MT6:7 But, praying, do not babble many words as the Non-Jews. For they think by uttering many words[4] they will be heard. MT6:8 So, you should not be like them. For The God your Father knows[5] what you need[6] before you ask. MT6:9 So, pray:[7]
Our Heavenly Father,[8]
Let your Name be sanctified.[9]
MT6:10 Let your Kingdom come.[10]
Let your Will take place,[11] as in heaven, also on earth.
MT6:11 Give to us our bread today.[12]
MT6:12 Forgive our debts[13] as we forgive those in debt to us.[14]
MT6:13 Bring us not into temptation[15] but rescue us from evil.[16]

[1] To be viewed by others: Compare Matthew 6:16: appearances. Various renderings: BAS: like the false-hearted men; PHI: like the play-actors; RHM: shine before men; WMS: to attract the attention of people.

1581 Psalter with Rose Warm sunlight streams d...

1581 Psalter with Rose Warm sunlight streams down on this ancient prayer book, bible and psalter, open to the Lord’s Prayer set to music. A rose lies on the open book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Praying to your Father secretly: See Luke 6:12: privacy. Various renderings: WEY: into your own room; NEB: into a room by yourself; RHM: and fastening thy door; BECK: who is with you when you are alone; PHI: pray to your Father privately; PHI: who sees all private things. Remember that even Jesus on occasion wandered off some distance from his disciples when praying.

The relationship with ‘love your neighbor’ in private prayers rather than a showy display is the affect such hypocritical prayers have on your neighbor. You give the impression you take yourself too seriously and judge your neighbor to be less “spiritual” than yourself. A private prayer in a cafe or restaurant without show is heard just as easily, or more so, by the Father.

[3] The Father watching secretly will reward you: The Nazarene does not explain what this “reward” is, only that it will occur. This requires “faith,” a word only occurring one time in this sermon (Matthew 6:30) and only in reference to his disciples – “little faith.”

[4] Uttering many words: Either “babbling” or “wordy”. Various renderings: GDSP: do not repeat empty phrases; WMS: repeating set phrases; PHI: don’t rattle off long prayers; NEB: do not go babbling on. For thousands of years religious worshippers have resorted to long prayers filled with a multitude of repetitions. Even the Nazarene’s famous prayer (the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, pater nostra) has come in for many repetitions though Jesus counseled against that. Some Asian religions use prayer wheels, beads, and flags to continue their repetitions.

[5] Your Father knows: See Matthew 6:32: needs; and, Luke 12:30: Father knows.

[6] What you need: “Needs” not “wants.”

[7] Pray: This most famous prayer outlines what we call Nazarene Principles.

[8] Father: The First Principle. The word “father” occurs 1,180 times in the OT in a family or secular context but less than 15 times in a religious or spiritual relationship. Most of these apply to the Messiah, leaving only a handful with reference to the Saints. The idea is rare in Judaism but “father” occurs 134 times in the Gospel of John. In the Mountain Teachings Jesus uses “your Father” 8 times, “our Father” 1 time, and “my Father” 1 time for a total of 10 occurrences.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 615:

“In the oldest version of this prayer, the invocation reads pater, (dear) Father, and indicates abba as the Aramaic original. This means that when Jesus gave his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he gave them authority to follow him in addressing God as abba and so gave them a share in his status as Son.”

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 617:

“The description of God as Father never refers to any other individual or to mankind in general. To be a child of God is not a natural state or quality.… In Palestinian Judaism of the pre-Christian period the description of God as Father is rare. The Qumran texts provide but a single example.… We have yet to find an example of an individual addressing God as ‘my Father.’… Jesus did not teach the idea that God is the Father of all men.… It must have been nothing short of outrageous that Jesus should make use of the completely unceremonious Aramaic word abba.”

For more information search the words “sons,” “children,” “born,” or “begotten” in a concordance or computer program.

Almost all of Mark’s content is found in Matthew, and much of Mark is similarly found in Luke. Additionally, Matthew and Luke have a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark.

 Let your Name be sanctified: The Second Principle. The Nazarene does not use the opportunity to incorporate the noma sagrada or Divine Name (YHWH = Jehovah; Exodus 3:15) in his model prayer. Jesus uses the words “your name” with reference to the Father rarely in the Synoptic Gospels. In John the Nazarene uses the expression at John 12:28 and John 17:6, 26. However, he never uses or pronounces YHWH in these contexts. Why? In Jesus’ day the Jews refrained from uttering the name YHWH and substituted Elohim (God) or Adonay (Lord). The Jews never removed YHWH from its nearly 7,000 occurrences in the Old Testament. About the year 1,000 AD Jewish copyists began to incorporate vowel points in YHWH to warn to say God or Lord in its place.

Does the Nazarene ever use YHWH? The Gospel evidence would indicate this could only be when he is quoting the Hebrew Bible. It is now thought that the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, known as The Septuagint (LXX), had YHWH untransliterated in the Greek text. There is a good reason for this. The Greek language cannot convert the Hebrew letters for YHWH. Modern Greek dictionaries use dzehoba or Iekhoba for “Jehovah” but original Greek did not have an “h” as it were, other than a breath sound. Modern Greek attempts to capture the sound of the English pronunciation of the name.

Given the attitude of the Jews what would have happened if Jesus used YHWH in quotes or normal speech? Certainly equal to that misguided accusation that he violated the Sabbath! Yet the Gospels are silent on this. What about private meetings with his disciples when the use of YHWH could not cause a public stir? Compare the lengthy closing words in John chapters 13 to 17. Not once does Jesus use YHWH even though he alludes to the “name” four times.

Given the facts that the Jews do not attack him for violating their understanding of one of the Ten Commandments and the absence of his use in private speeches and prayers, it would seem he respected the Jewish tradition of the time.

This does not minimize the importance of the “Name” as Jesus’ words in his prayer shows. The idea of this sanctification occurs scores of times in the Hebrew Bible. Compare Exodus 3:14, 15 and 6:3.

Various renderings are: TCNT: May thy name be held holy; MOF: thy name be revered; PHI: may your name be honored. For more information on this subject see Nazarene Principles.

[10] Let your Kingdom come: The Third Principle. After the subject of the “Name” in the Hebrew Bible with its 7,000 occurrences of YHWH, the next most important topic is the Kingdom. The Messiah and his “kingdom” are inseparable (Note Psalm 2 and 110 as well as Daniel chapters 2 and 7). In the Nazarene’s teachings there are two “kingdoms”: the Son’s and the Father’s (Matthew 13:41, 42). The “kingdom” here in his prayer is the Father’s.

“Kingdom” is a word used often by the Nazarene. The word occurs 55 times in Matthew, 23 times in Mark, 45 times in Luke and 5 times in John.

When does the Nazarene begin to reign? The Second Psalm is quoted by Peter at Acts 4:24, 25 and Paul at Acts 13:33 and applied to the resurrection and ascension of Christ in the year 33 AD. This was in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1 (Note 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Daniel chapters 2 and 7 would argue this kingdom’s beginning is during the reign of the “fourth kingdom” or Rome (Daniel 2:44; 7:9-14). Upon his ascension the Nazarene took up his Power as described by Paul at Ephesians 1:20-23.

Upon the Return or Arrival (parousia) of the Son of Man, and his gathering to himself his Saints, there will be a milestone in the King’s rule (Matthew 24:3, 30; John 14:2,3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 11:18; 12:10).

[11] Let your Will take place: The Fourth Principle. The “kingdom” is the agency by which the “Name” is sanctified and the “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:9, 10) or will of the Father is accomplished (Psalm 72; Daniel chapters 2, 7). God’s original purpose was for a global paradise (Genesis chapters 2, 3). His Will has not changed (Isaiah 45:18; 55:11). Messiah and his Saints will rule the earth (Psalms 2, 110; Daniel 7:13, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6). The earth will never be destroyed (Psalms 104:5; Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 72:8). The City of God will one day descend out of heaven to rule the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4, 6; 21:1-5).

God has a “will” or purpose for “heaven” as Daniel 4:35 shows. This will for “heaven” will be realized by virtue of the Son and the Messiah’s Church (Ephesians 1:10; 3:9, 10 Colossians 1:20).

[12] Give to us our bread today: The Fifth Principle. The first four Principles of the Nazarene’s prayer deal with God, the last three deal with the individual disciple. The first of these, or the Fifth Principle, deals with that necessary bread for each day (Psalm 37:25). This is not “daily bread” but “bread for today.” From the Nazarene’s viewpoint it would be materialistic to pray for tomorrow’s bread (Matthew 6:33, 34).

Various renderings: ALF: our needful bread.

Prayer for “today’s bread” does not guarantee a disciple may not go hungry on occasion. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:27 and Matthew 25:37 (Philippians 4:11-13). Some see the daily offering of loaves at the Temple here.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 1, page 251:

“Origen suggested that we should understand it as eip ten ousian (the bread) necessary for existence. It can be supported by reference to Proverbs 30:8 and it reminds us of Exodus 16:4. The Israelites were to gather only so much manna as they needed for ‘the day.’”

[13] Forgive our debts: The Sixth Principle (Luke 11:14). Various renderings: WEY: shortcomings… those who have failed in their duty towards us; PHI: forgive us what we owe to you as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Note there is the tax collector’s tone here as earlier in debits, credits and rewards. Not only are financial debts canceled but moral and emotional debts as well (Romans 13:8: owe only love).

Forgiveness is a kissing cousin to agape or that love which has an unselfish, even selfless, interest out of pure motive for others. The word group “forgive” occurs 48 times in the Gospels (1 Corinthians 13:5: log, or, keep account; LOGIZETAI). Such forgiveness cannot be separated from love of neighbor. Such a quality ought to characterize the Nazarene Saint.

[14] Debt to us: This may be moral or emotional indebtedness but it also may be literal monetary debts (Luke 6:34). One of the clearest ways to judge a man is by his wallet and how he uses it in relation to his dealings with others. When it comes to spirituality, the use of money from the standpoint of God separates the men from the boys.

[15] Bring us not into temptation: The Seventh Principle. Various renderings: BAS: let us not be put to the test. This is a subject the Nazarene knows something about (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1; 22:40; Hebrews 4:15). The word group “tempt” occurs 36 times in the Bible and 14 times in the Synoptics, but not once in John. A related word “test” occurs 113 times in the Bible with 11 in the Gospels. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:13.

1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:13 are good commentaries on the Nazarene’s words. God does not tempt or test one with evil, so He does not cause a prostitute pass before a man to test him. The Temptation of Christ had two phases: a beginning and an end. At the beginning he was tempted (tested) by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). These tests or temptations dealt with doubt in the word “if,” as well as greed and pride. The later test was manifest at the end of his life beginning in the Garden of Agony and finally, the Tree (Hebrews 4:15). Test or tempt really find their best definition in the word “endurance.”

[16] Evil: Some render the Greek PONERON as either “evil,” “wicked,” or Wicked One, alluding to the Devil (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1).

 

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Preceding articles

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Be sound in mind and be vigilant with a view to prayers

Praying is surrendering in all circumstances

Praying and acts of meditation without ceasing

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Additional reading

  1. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  2. If your difficulties are longstanding, try kneeling
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  6. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  8. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  10. Not able to make contact with God because to busy
  11. Give Thanks To God
  12. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything
  13. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  14. Running challenge and the City build by the Most High Maker
  15. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  16. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  17. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him
  18. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  19. God should be your hope

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Further reading

      1. The Good Neighbor
      2. 7 Habits That Distinguish Believers from Professing Christians (part 4)
      3. Should Christians Meditate?
      4. Are You Praying?
      5. Keep Praying!
      6. My Prayer for 2014
      7. Daily Bible Verse:John 14:6
      8. Jesus, Light of The World Praying the Scriptures through Advent Book
      9. Waiting On God
      10. In All Honesty
      11. Wait for it………….
      12. What Jesus is Praying For (May 12)
      13. Praying in the dark 1
      14. Praying in the dark 2
      15. Bend Your Head so You Can Stand Your Ground
      16. That’s it, I am Angry and I am Praying
      17. praying for hard things
      18. Unmasked
      19. I Believe in Praying ~
      20. Praying Hands
      21. Meditation/Betty’s Verse Of The Day/1-22-14
      22. Why Nothing Is Worth Grieving The Holy Spirit
      23. I’m Praying!
      24. Praying for God Peace ~
      25. Childlike praying
      26. Praying Through
      27. March 16 – Keep on praying
      28. Praying Scripture for strength and courage
      29. Seven lessons from Jesus’ prayer for us all…
      30. “Till death” (NOT)
      31. Kesha Takes the High Road in Powerful New Single, “Praying”
      32. My Personal Prayer
      33. Pray with love in your heart
      34. Today’s Thought: Why We Dare
      35. The Benefits of Praying in Public
      36. Let’s step up our prayer game
      37. Today’s Thought: The Invited Name
      38. Why praying is important
      39. The Bible uses different Facets to convey the meaning of Kingdom of God
      40. The Kingdom Of Heaven And The Kingdom Of God Compared And Contrasted
      41. Shadows of Messiah – Astronomy
      42. Into God’s Kingdom for New Jerusalem
      43. New Jerusalem: God’s House Becomes a City
      44. Christ, God’s House, God’s City, the Earth
      45. New Jerusalem, City of the Living God
      46. New Jerusalem, City of the Living God (2)
      47. The Glory of God
      48. Seek His Kingdom
      49. The Kingdom of God and the Marriage of the Lamb
      50. What Brings Us Near to the Kingdom of God?
      51. The Bilateral Ekklesia vs. The Kingdom of Heaven
      52. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) – Pt. 4
      53. Luke 14:15-24
      54. All Things Are Possible with God
      55. The Power of Prayer
      56. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
      57. “Unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
      58. Summer in the City of God
      59. Jerusalem Jubilee
      60. The City of the Church
      61. Come let us Grow Together: The City of God
      62. The LORD of hosts is with us
      63. God is within her
      64. There is a River
      65. The City of the Great King
      66. The City of God – The Preface
      67. 66. A City to Come
      68. The Kingdom of Heaven
      69. Protection and Covering
      70. The Kingdom of God

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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Gospel by Matthew

Chapter six:

Love and money

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued

a) Charity and neighbor love

MT6:1 “But, listen to this:[1] Do not exhibit your ‘righteousness’[2] before men to be observed by them[3] or you will have no reward[4] from your heavenly Father. MT6:2 So, when you give charitable donations[5] do not trumpet before you as hypocrites[6] do in religious gatherings and roadways to be honored by men. I tell you in truth:[7] They have their full reward![8] MT6:3 But, you who give charitable donations, let your left hand not know what your right hand is doing.[9] MT6:4 So, your charitable donations will be secret. Then your Father watching secretly will reward you secretly.

[1] Listen to this: The Nazarene’s commentary on neighbor love continues and takes many forms and applications.

[2] Do not exhibit your ‘righteousness’: Motive is involved here. Nothing demonstrates more hatred for a neighbor than trying to be a “show-off” and parade self-righteousness in front of a neighbor. The Nazarene rabbi has not shifted from his subject of Leviticus 19:18 and neighbor love. He begins to give practical application to it with several examples.

Various renderings are: RIEU: exercise your virtues in public; NEB: make a show of your religion; MOF: in order to be noticed; WMS: to attract the attention of people. Compare Matthew 23:5.

[3] To be observed by them: The “them” are also your neighbors.

[4] Reward: A word and idea the Nazarene uses 8 times in the sermon (Matthew 5:12, 46; 6:1, 2, 4, 6, 17).

[5] Charitable donations: The Greek is ELEEMOSYNEN and may be rendered “gifts of mercy”. Various renderings are: TCNT: acts of charity; BAS: give money to the poor. The idea and word only occurs in Matthew in this sermon (Matthew 6:2-4) and 8 times in Acts. However, there are two occurrences in Luke of particular note: Luke 11:41, inner gifts of mercy; and Luke 12:33, where the apostolic Little Flock is commanded to ‘sell your belongings and give.’ Material giving is right at the top of the short list of Jesus’ favorite topics.

[6] Hypocrites: Various renderings are: PHI: like those play-actors in the synagogue; TCNT: praised by others; MOF: to win men; PHI: make sure that men admire them. The Greek word translated “hypocrite” is HYPOKRITAI (hypo + critic/judge) and refers to that mask actors wear when playing roles. It carries the idea of “two-faced.”

[7] I tell you in truth: This is literally “amen” and is often used by the Nazarene to stress a serious warning.

[8] Reward: Reward and credit or repayment is a much-used expression by Jesus as though God were an accountant keeping a tally of debits and credits in a ledger.

[9] Let your left hand not know what your right hand is doing: Right or left. There may be a scientific truth here for left-handed people operate mainly in the brain’s right hemisphere which is not the “knowing” or intellectual side. The Nazarene Saint must exercise caution in giving so that his motive and manner are pure. Compare Proverbs 19:17: giving.

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Tes...

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Most likely originated in Egypt. Also part of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P. oxy. 2) Currently housed in: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding article

Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18

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Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18

Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18

MT5:43 “You heard it said: ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’[1] [Leviticus 19:18] MT5:44 But, I tell you: Love your enemies[2] and pray for your persecutors. MT5:45 And so prove to be Sons of your Heavenly Father.[3] For His sun rises upon the wicked and the good. And He rains upon the righteous and unrighteous. MT5:46 For what is your reward if you only love those loving you? Are not tax-collectors doing the same? MT5:47 And, what extraordinary thing are you doing if you only greet your brothers?[4] Are not the Non-Jews[5] doing the same thing? MT5:48 So, you shall be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.[6]

[1] Hate your enemy: The NJB ftn comments: “The second part of this commandment is not found in the law. It is the brusque expression of a language which has few half-tones and is equivalent to: ‘There is no obligation to love one’s enemy.’” However, one might find the spirit in Psalms 26:5; 101:3; 119:104, 113; 139:21, 22.

[2] Love your enemies: Barclay:

“There is no commandment of Jesus which has caused so much discussion and debate as the commandment to love our enemies.”

The Greek for “love” here is from AGAPE and many feel the English “love” does not do justice to this word. Barclay has it: “Seek the highest good of another.” Perhaps the best definition of AGAPE completely lacks the word in the context: 1 Corinthians 10:24, ‘Seek not for self but for others’ and Philippians 2:4, ‘Look not after self but others.’ AGAPE can be ruled by a) principle; and, b) motive. If the principle or motive be wrong then the AGAPE is misdirected. If the motive and principle are correct then the AGAPE is pure. There are only 4 occurrences of AGAPAO in the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings (Matthew 5:43, 44, 46; 6:24). Luke 6:27-35 outlines how this “love” is demonstrated: 1) pray for; 2) do good to; and, 3) lend without interest (Compare Luke 6:28 and Romans 12:20: enemies). Luke adds ‘pray for insulting’ and ‘do good to hateful.’ (Romans 12:14: bless) Your enemies are those who do not love you and are most often found among those bowing next to you in prayer or singing loudly God’s praises!

Paul argues that the “law’s fulfillment” is found in “love of neighbor.” (Galatians 5:14) If “love of neighbor” fulfills the law, what does “love of enemy” do? It leaps light years ahead of the Mosaic Law or Torah and puts before the average man a difficult, if not impossible task, unless one is committed to Nazarene discipleship.

[3] Prove to be Sons of your Heavenly Father: See Luke 6:35. Divine sonship does not come by birth as John 1:12, 13 shows. There must be a “birth from above.” (1 John chapters 3, 4) The strongest proof of this status as a son is to love one’s enemies. As Matthew and Luke show, the Father does good to both the wicked and unthankful. Thus, no Nazarene Saint can argue that one can withhold goodness from the wicked or ungrateful. It is the tendency to show kindness to those loving you, whereas God’s love is showered on those who might still ignore Him and continue to exist in a sinful state. With the Nazarene these are not mere words, for we see him demonstrating this again and again.

[4] If you only greet your brothers: Various renderings: TCNT: show courtesy to; GDSP: if you are polite to your brothers only; PHI: greetings only within your own circle. There is much of just plain good manners here and this graciousness is across the social board. The ultimate display of hate is to ignore greeting those with the simplest words that might indicate some spark of recognition or respect.

There is an exception which John, a witness to the Mountain Teachings, mentions at 2 John verse 10 in the context of known antichrists and deceivers.

[5] Non-Jews: This is ETHNIKOI in Greek, from which comes the English “ethnic.” The word means non-Jew and possibly rouses a certain feeling of superiority in Jesus’ audience. The Nazarene uses it four times in his sermon (Matthew 5:47; 6:7, 32).

[6] Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

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Preceding article: Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

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Additional reading

  1. Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility
  2. A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ
  3. Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments
  4. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  5. Luther’s misunderstanding
  6. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  7. Wrath kills the foolish man, and envy consumes the covetous one
  8. If You want to start winning the war
  9. Love one another; just as I have loved you
  10. Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God
  11. Leaders in disguise
  12. The days are coming
  13. Today’s thought “Clothing yourselves with the right attitude” (May 16)
  14. Thought for September 8 Weak but standing strong in the ground swell
  15. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  16. Improving the world by improving the Faith
  17. Time Has A Way Of Healing

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Further reading

  1. The Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) –
  2. Let’s Get Practical.
  3. A Love-Hate Relationship
  4. Love Your Enemies
  5. Matthew 5 – The Sermon on the Mount
  6. The divinely approved enemy
  7. When Belief Shows Up In Behavior.
  8. Godly Love.
  9. Peter Doesn’t Hold Back – Acts 4
  10. Proverbs 10 – Integrity and Love
  11. Proverbs 21 – Finding Life, Righteousness, and Honor
  12. 5 Reasons Why I’m Not a 5 Point Calvinist – A Biblical Response
  13. The suffering of the rightous
  14. TFTD – 05 July 2014 – Thoughts from Today’s Bible Readings
  15. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 10:1-15
  16. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise Matthew 5:27-32
  17. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise5:33-37
  18. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 5:43-48
  19. Matthew 5:44-45
  20. Forgiving Others
  21. Forgiveness 1
  22. Forgiveness 2
  23. Forgiveness 3
  24. Forgiveness 4
  25. Is Forgiveness The Key To Happiness?
  26. Forgiveness: An Act of Self Love
  27. Daily Inspiration – Forgiveness is a Wonderful thing.
  28. Expressions of Love
  29. How to Love the Unlovable
  30. Forgive Your Enemies
  31. Today’s Scripture reading (Love your enemies)
  32. Daily Bible Verse Matthew 5:44
  33. Scripture Verse Of The Week ‘Matthew 16 verse 25’
  34. Rise And Stand
  35. Resistance Isn’t Futile
  36. Friday, September 5, 2014
  37. Targeted Attacks by The Enemy
  38. At Odds with the World
  39. When we put on the “armor of God” – let’s not to forget to “walk humbly”
  40. Paris – Charlie Hebdo? The only way to win this thing is to love
  41. Paris terror and Christian response to evil
  42. When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. 
  43. Do not gloat when your enemies fall
  44. Of Dissonance and Hashkafah
  45. On A Common Curse
  46. One More Way How Not To Become A Saint
  47. Peace child
  48. What compassion, what patience
  49. Love in Action
  50. Jesus Motivates Us to Move to a Higher AGAPE Love Walk!
  51. Agape Love vs. Erotic Love

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Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

MT5:38 “You heard it said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’[1] [Exodus 21:24] MT5:39 But, I tell you: Do not resist[2] wicked authority. But, whoever slaps your right cheek,[3] turn to him the other. MT5:40 And, the one with a legal settlement against you for your inner garment, let him have the outer. MT5:41 And, whoever impresses you to go one mile,[4] go two. MT5:42 Give to those asking[5] and do not turn away from the one wanting to borrow.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (portret omstreeks de late jaren 1930)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence from Great Britain, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

[1] Eye for eye and tooth for tooth: Ghandi commented that all this Law did was make a world of blind persons. There is no case of this ever being done literally in the Hebrew Bible. The subject is “revenge” which the Nazarene discourages.

[2] Do not resist: The principle behind the Civil Rights Movement. Compare Romans 12:17 and 1 Peter 2:23: yielding. Most do not see the Nazarene teaching pacifism, others do. NJB ftn:

“The gospel does not forbid reasonable defense against unjust aggression.”

Though we do not find the Nazarene making use of this (John 18:22, 36).

The subject may be “wicked authority” represented in either the Roman occupiers or the harsh religious hierarchy. There are three examples within this context of “wicked authority”: a) an insult; b) legal matters; and, c) forced civil service. Here are the sources for “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile.” (Note Mark 15:21: authority)

Large outdoor gathering

World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, 2011

[3] Slaps your right cheek: An open-handed insult. The Nazarene experiences this (John 18:22).

[4] Impresses you to go one mile: Such rights by the State are current in most countries. For example, in the United States the police may command one’s vehicle or the fire department may impress one into fire-fighting.

[5] Give to those asking: A hallmark of the Nazarene’s teachings. Various renderings: MOF: the man who begs; WMS: keeps on begging. Compare Acts 20:35 in a rare allusion or quotation of the Nazarene by Paul. These include interest free loans (See Deuteronomy 23:19 and Luke 6:32-34: loans). Luke the Physician is stronger on this matter than Matthew the Tax-collector, the former discouraging loans completely and stressing giving. A real test on the Nazarene Saint is the pocketbook and is demonstrated in being ‘liberal’ (Romans 12:8, 13; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). The Nazarene Saint who refuses to share that good bounty God has given is in serious danger (James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

Luke includes the giving nearer the context of love for enemies. The Good Doctor includes interest free loans and not expecting any repayment (See Deuteronomy 15:7; Proverbs 21:26; Matthew 5:42: giving).

Does all of this suggest a commandment for all Friends of the Nazarene to divest themselves of their possessions or property? Judging from the descriptions in the Book of Acts this was not a command but a voluntary matter. Peter tells Ananias,

‘When it was unsold, did it not remain your property; and after it was sold, did not the value remain in your control?’ (Acts 5:4)

Peter nowhere argues:

“Did not the Nazarene teach you to sell everything and give to the poor.”

It was completely voluntary, though one can sense a degree of peer pressure from the Nazarene Community of Saints. Later when Paul argues these matters with the Corinthians and then with Timothy, he never resorts to the authority of the Nazarene about selling all. He merely tells Timothy, ‘To command the rich’ and then gives a list of strongly suggested items (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Certainly the Nazarene, and also God, encourage a “simple eye” on “guard against covetousness” (Luke 12:15), always remembering that the Father is paying close attention to how the Nazarene Saint uses material possessions.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

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Additional reading

  1. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  2. A man who cannot forgive others
  3. When discouraged facing opposition
  4. God should be your hope
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  6. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ
  7. When having taken a new direction in life, having become a Christian
  8. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  9. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  10. Church sent into the world
  11. Fellowship
  12. Love is like playing the piano
  13. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  14. How do you keep people from stealing your joy?
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. What Does Love Look Like?
  17. Overcome division with core values
  18. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  19. A true sermon is a real deed.
  20. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Further related reading

  1. City on a Hill
  2. Psalms 13: Has God Forgotten Me?
  3. 10 Biblical Passages That Radically Shape My Worldview
  4. Christians, It’s Time to Stop Saying “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”
  5. Chiseled for Change: Part 2
  6. Jesus interprets the Law through love
  7. Letting the Bible study you – Part three
  8. The point is…do you know Love?
  9. The hermeneutics of love – part two
  10. Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom – Part Four
  11. Give me dove’s eyes
  12. It’s Not About Chick-fil-A–It’s About You Standing For Christian Values
  13. Be Strong Be Courageous
  14. There is more to life than meets the eye.
  15. The heart has an ” inner eye ” …..
  16. With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony…

Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

MT5:33 “Again, you heard it said to the Ancients: ‘Break not your vows[1] but repay your vows to the Lord.’[2] [Numbers 30:3] MT5:34 But, I tell you: Never make vows![3] Not by heaven for it is the Throne of The God, MT5:35 nor by earth for it is His footstool,[4] [Isaiah 66:1] nor by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King,[5] [Psalm 48:2] MT5:36 nor by your own head for you are unable to make one hair white or black. MT5:37 But, let your word be YES for YES and NO for NO. For any more is from the Wicked One.[6]

[1] Vows: See Numbers 30:3; Deuteronomy 23:23; Ecclesiastes 5:4. Note James 5:12 remembers well this Nazarene teaching.

Ancient potsherd inscription

Ancient potsherd inscription (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Lord: Here KYRIOS has the article. Judging from the source of the Nazarene’s quotation of Numbers 30:3 or Deuteronomy 23:23 the Hebrew text included the Divine Name YHWH (Yehowah, Yahweh, Jehovah; from Exodus 3:15). Did the Nazarene use the Divine Name here? This would be its only occurrence in his entire sermon. Some would argue he did and we respect their view. On the other hand, given the murderously critical attitude of the Jews, who held the utterance of YHWH to be a violation of the Commandment at Exodus 20:7 (See the works of Josephus), if the Nazarene had used YHWH why did the Jews not make a judgment against him as they do in the case of his so-called violations of the Sabbath? Nowhere in the Gospels is Jesus ever condemned for uttering the Divine Name? The Gospels do not record Jesus’ use of YHWH in public or private conversation other than, possibly, in quotations of the Hebrew Bible (See the work Nazarene Principles). In his lengthy prayer of John chapter 17 he uses the word “name” with reference to his Father four times, but never utters the Divine Name, YHWH.

[3] Never make vows: This, along with Paul’s (Romans 13:8) and James’ (James 5:12) commentary, raises a serious question regarding business contracts. Some would limit the Nazarene’s remarks to “the practice of light, loose, and indiscriminate making of oaths.” Others would see that Jesus allows agreements based on one’s “Yes” or “a gentlemen’s handshake” as it were. Can anyone argue after reading all the teachings of the Nazarene on the subject of possessions, riches, and property that he strongly encouraged the spirit of Luke 12:33? Compare 2 Corinthians 1:17-20 on promises. The example of the Apostles and disciples recorded in Acts chapters 2 to 6 demonstrates the literalness with which the Nazarene Community accepted Jesus’ teachings on the subject.

By comparing Matthew 5:42 and Luke 6:34 with Luke 12:33 and 18:22-30 it would seem apparent that the Nazarene Saint does not own property and would not be found making a loan to someone, or for that matter, securing a loan from another without deviating from the Nazarene’s teachings. Jesus led this kind of life and so did his disciples. To read more on this subject compare notes elsewhere on the subject of “riches” and “possessions.” As with the rest of the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings this will not set well with a Capitalist Society. In all the history in the Book of Acts there is no case of a Nazarene disciple buying property, even for a church building.

[4] Footstool: See Isaiah 66:1 the source of the Nazarene’s allusion.

[5] The city of the great King: Jesus alludes to Psalm 48:2.

[6] Wicked One: There is reason to pause and meditate carefully on the matters of vows or oaths, whether personal or commercial, because of this danger expressed by the Nazarene.

 

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Preceding

Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1

Next: Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

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Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1

Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1

MT5:31 “But, it was said: ‘Whoever releases his woman, let him give her a divorce certificate.’[1] [Deuteronomy 24:1] MT5:32 But, I tell you: Any man who divorces his woman[2] except on account of fornication[3] causes her to commit adultery. Any who marry the divorced woman commit adultery.

[1] Give her a divorce certificate: For the second time the context deals with women and the attitude of men toward them. This is a revolutionary idea (Matthew 2:14-16; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11). Much of the Nazarene’s teachings lead to the emancipation of women. In Mark’s account (Mark 10:12) women are included in this matter of divorce. Female divorce was not covered in the Law of Moses nor in most legislation of nations. Compare the response of the male disciples of the Nazarene at Matthew 19:3-12 where they suggest its better not to marry at all if the only grounds for divorce was adultery. Note Paul’s encouragement of celibacy without condemning marriage (1 Corinthians ch 7).

[2] Woman: The Greek is GYNAIKA and like many languages there is no word for “wife” and the married woman is implied by the context.

[3] Fornication: This is the Greek PORNEIAS which is rooted in “to buy” and first implies prostitution but later includes all forms of sexual improprieties which one might “buy” from a harlot. In the Law of Moses engaged couples who had intercourse were not stoned to death, but the male had to marry the girl, pay a price to her father, and give up his rights of divorce. PORNEIA is the root of “pornography.” The word occurs three times in Matthew (Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9) and occurs once in Mark 7:21. The Apostolic Body warns the Non-Jews of it at Acts 15:20, 29. Paul uses the word most often in seven of his letters. The glorified Christ warns of it in his letters to the “angels” at Revelation 2:14, 20. Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 may infer “fornication” occurs during the 1,000 years, outside of the New Jerusalem. The Nazarene teaches that “fornication” is one of those things which ‘defile’ a person (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:21). “Fornication” may include unnatural sexual practices as shown by Jude 6, 7.

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Object of first woe

Hebraic Roots Bible 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee fornication and be joined to our Master

Next: Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

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Additional reading

  1. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  2. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #3 With his partner
  3. Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women
  4. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  5. What Does The Bible Say About….Fornication?
  6. Relationships and Sexuality Awareness Day
  7. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  8. Different assessment criteria and a new language to be found for communicating the faith
  9. Bible Guidelines for a happy marriage
  10. Youngsters, parents and the search to root in life
  11. Forced marriage and Islam
  12. Parenting in changing times
  13. Two synods and life in the church community
  14. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  15. 72 Synod Fathers on the topic “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”
  16. The Catholic synod on the family and abortion
  17. In marriage not wounding each other

+++

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