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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

|| Luke 12:22-31

MT6:24 “No one can slave for two masters,[1] for either he will hate one and love the other[2] or embrace[3] one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Riches![4] MT6:25 For this I tell you: Do not be overly concerned[5] about your soul[6] as to what you might eat or what you might drink,[7] nor about your body as to clothing.[8] MT6:26 Look well to the birds[9] in the sky, they do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns.[10] Your heavenly Father feeds them.[11] Are you that much different?[12] MT6:27 But, who among you can add one minute to your life-span[13] by being overly concerned? MT6:28 And, why are you overly concerned about clothing? Learn something from how the flowers of the field[14] grow. They do not labor or spin.[15] MT6:29 But, I tell you: Solomon in all his glory[16] was not clothed as one of these. MT6:30 But, if The God clothes the fields of grass,[17] here today and tomorrow tossed in the oven, how much more you,[18] ones of little faith? MT6:31 So, do not be overly concerned,[19] saying, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’[20] MT6:32 For all these the Non-Jews overly seek.[21] Your heavenly Father knows you need all these.[22] MT6:33 But, you, seek first His Kingdom and righteousness[23] and all these will be added to you. MT6:34 So, do not be overly concerned about tomorrow.[24] For tomorrow will have its own concerns. The hardships of each day are enough![25]

[1] Two masters: Or, masters. 2 Timothy 2:4 expresses a similar idea by Paul.

[2] He will hate one and love the other: Various renderings are: TCNT: attach himself; BECK: be loyal to the one. Hate here means to love less of two, much as a man with two maidens to please. Woe to him if the other finds out. The disciple who slaves for Mammon, or sticks to riches by his conversation and agenda, though unknown to himself, despises his true Lord.

[3] Embrace: Or, “stick”. On the word “stick” see Deuteronomy 30:20 where it equals love and obedience. Rather than try to balance the two, God and Riches, the Friend of the Nazarene is better off sinning on the side of God and poverty than on the side of Riches and self. Better to die penniless with God as your Business Partner than end life wealthy with a lost soul as your only investment (Luke 12:20).

[4] God and Riches: It is not, “God or Riches,” but, “God and Riches.” The Nazarene says it cannot be done, though untold numbers of Christians have attempted it miserably (1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17-19). Various renderings are: KNX: you must serve God or money; you cannot serve both. This is an impossibility illustrated by the mental image of a poor servant running back and forth between the two demands of two different lords. He is obediently with the one when the other requires his service. Riches can easily become a taskmaster greater than God. Riches can become God itself.

In the modern Western capitalist world there are millions of Christians trying to do the very thing the Nazarene said cannot be done: serve God and Riches. There are those Prosperity Preachers who speak in the voice of Revelation 3:17 and who insist riches are proof of God’s blessing. They particularly encourage tithing and giving one’s money to them in promise of God’s blessing. The Nazarene Saint has only to look at the life-style of the Master and those early disciples to see what Jesus meant.

[5] Overly concerned: Various renderings are: KJ: take no thought for your life; WMS: stop worrying about your life; NEB: put away anxious thoughts. Stop! This is a negative command of the Nazarene, and based on John 15:14 and John 14:15, a failure to obey this directive proves one does not love him, nor is a friend of the Lord. To persist in anxiety and worry is a desertion of Christ. For those hapless and bedarkened souls who suffer physical and chemical ailments are captive to frightening insecurities and paranoia. Note Paul’s “secret” at Philippians 4:6, 12.

The affects of worry, anxiety, and being overly concerned about material matters, can have a strong influence on neighbor love, for one may be so occupied with these secular things as to ignore one’s neighbor.

[6] Soul: The Greek is PSYCHE and many translate this “life.” It is interesting that it is the “soul” linked to the functions of eating and drinking and then the “body” (SOMA) with clothing. In Hebrew and Greek the “soul” is the living, breathing creature itself and at death becomes “a dead soul.” (Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, 11: dead soul) To Paul the “soul” is the animal, physical, earthly, dusty, corruptible, mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). See lexicons and dictionaries on “soul.”

[7] Drink: Usually this does not mean water but wine or milk as both were staples.

[8] Clothing: In the world of the Nazarene the majority of people possessed a single set of clothes meant to last a life-time. Note Matthew 5:40; 9:16, 20, 21; 11:8; 24:18; Luke 22:36; John 19:25. The “naked” state mentioned in Matthew 25:36 can infer improperly clothed for the conditions.

[9] Birds: In Luke 12:23, 24 these “birds” are “ravens,” the bird which Noah released first (Genesis 8:7), and which fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4, 6). The raven is considered the smartest of birds, mate for life, and is the most wide-ranging of all birds. It is found on Mount Everest, in the worst of deserts, and the Arctic. Job 38:41 is a foreview of the Nazarene’s words,

‘Who provides the ravens food when its young cry to God for help?’

[10] They do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns: According to the Nazarene birds do not toil, but they survive. Jesus is encouraging the simple life in which toil is non-existent. For three and a half years Jesus did not toil, nor did his disciples until that day they lost faith and returned to their fishing businesses (John 21:1-19).

[11] Father feeds them: The Nazarene credits God for feeding the birds even as Job 38:41 states. If the Nazarene has this kind of conviction, how can one of his disciples not trust God to care.

[12] Different: Many translate DIAPHERETE as “worth” and this may be well, but one can see the English corruption “different” in the word. Regarding “worth” each person has a value or worth and in the Nazarene’s absurdum the disciples can see their true value in the eyes of the Creator of sparrows which sell for little in the market (Matthew 10:29).

[13] Add one minute to your life-span: Various renderings: GDSP: which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life span; TCNT: prolong his life a single moment; PHI: make himself an inch taller. Note Psalm 39:4, 5: life; Psalm 90:10: seventy or eighty years. Unknown then, but presumed by human reasoning, and now confirmed by medical studies, anxiety does not prolong life, but shortens it, in a painfully slow and a daily agonizing death.

[14] Flowers of the field: Some identify the flower with the lily. Compare Matthew 11:28 and Proverbs 23:4: toil. These beauties of the field neither toil nor sow and are an example for the Nazarene disciple (Matthew 6:26).

[15] They do not labor or spin: The bird does not gather or store, and the flower does not labor or spin, and the Nazarene infers this is an example for his disciples. The storage and labor here are of a material kind. No one could argue that the Nazarene or Paul did not labor and toil, but this they did in the Master’s harvest. Compare Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 9:3-18.

[16] Solomon in all his glory: Note Solomon’s wealth at 1 Kings 10:5 and read of his endeavors in Ecclesiastes ch 2, where he admits the futility or vanity of what appears to be security in material things. Note his conclusions at Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The Queen of Sheba, so overcome at Solomon’s wealth, may have been unimpressed by the humble lifestyle of the Nazarene.

[17] The God clothes the fields of grass: The Nazarene credits God for the carpets of flowers.

[18] How much more you: See Luke 12:28. The standard clothing of the poor in the days of the Nazarene was three layers of covering, the outer of such a nature to serve also as a night blanket, or a tent in foul weather. This served a lifetime and was so well made and needful as to be a guarantee against a debt (Matthew 5:40). Such a pledge had to be returned before night. It is doubtful Jesus had a wardrobe that allowed a daily, weekly, or even monthly change of apparel. Note Matthew 11:8 where soft or fine garments are found in king’s castles and splendid, luxurious dress in royal houses (Luke 7:25). These fine clothes may be beautiful and carry a delicate feel to the skin, but useless for the night bivouac of a wandering troop of itinerant teachers spending the occasional evening under the stars with God as their blanket, their only entertainment the nocturnal crickets, frogs and owls. Who among those genuine disciples of the Nazarene would not give everything they possess to spend one such night under the open celestial darkness with Jesus. Then to listen to his restful breathing in that Innocent’s sleep, only to wonder of such divine dreams?

In the Western world much time is spent in shopping at luxurious malls, which would rival the pyramids in their architecture, and absorb untold hours of dressing and undressing, only to have clothes hang limp in the darkness of a closet.

[19] Not be overly concerned: See Luke 12:29: worry. Various renderings: PHI: do not worry. ‘Stop worrying!’ is a Nazarene command (John 14:15). To worry or be unduly anxious is a desertion of Christ. Better to die of starvation or thirst or nakedness than to give in to anxiety over transient things.

Note the austere sincerity of Peter’s haste to build a mountain bivouac from available boughs, for those august personages of Moses and Elijah, so they had some shelter from the lofty mountain’s night – a heart so sweet and swift in its goodness. Such an enthusiastic suggestion is unthinkable in the modern Western world where one would rather worry about the credit limit on a gold bankcard and where the nearest luxury hotel was, let alone have the knowledge to build such a temporary shelter (Matthew 17:1, 4).

[20] ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’: These questions seem out of place to a Western reader where these are the least of one’s problems. In Third World Countries these are still timely questions of daily concern. In the West most are struggling with various weight programs, drink too much, and have closets filled with unused clothing. A woman dressing for the evening may go through a dozen changes before the mirror, try on several pairs of heels, select from drawers of jewelry and choose from dozens of perfumes.

However, the spirit of the Nazarene’s teachings ought to ring in the ears of the Saint living near the top of the social and economic pyramid: seek a life of simplicity with a generous eye toward the less fortunate. It is Paul who instructs the missionary Timothy to “give orders to the rich.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Who dare do that today? What Christian pastor has the courage to even read these words without rationalizing to his affluent congregation?

[21] Non-Jews overly seek: And the Nazarene would have to admit, and perhaps he avoids saying so, many Jews of his world sought the same. Various renderings: BECK: the people of the world run after all these things. These words were not lost on the Nazarene’s beloved when John writes

‘Do not love the world and its things… for all worldly things (fleshly desire, greedy eyes, and self-assuming materialism) are not of the Father.’ (1 John 2:15, 16)

Here “things” are merely food, drink and clothing and this is ludicrous in a modern Western society where payments for debts on autos, mobile phones, TV cable-hookups, electricity for refrigerators, and other modern conveniences make economic slaves of men, their wives and families. Jesus’ sermon would be meaningless to a modern audience in America or Europe accept for those unfortunate living on the street and who have fallen outside the sumptuous table of capitalist and social democratic orders.

[22] Father knows you need all these: The comforting thought that God knows our needs saturates the Psalms. If there is one group of peoples the Almighty pays close attention to, it is the poor (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:12). The word “poor” occurs 117, times with Psalms having the most occurrences (23 times). A comparison of a concordance on the words poor, poverty, affliction, or oppressed, will reveal God’s loving care for such multitudes.

[23] Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness: First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom). Various renderings are: PHI: set your heart on his kingdom; RIEU: pursue the kingdom; BECK: first be eager to have God as your King; GDSP: but you must make his kingdom and uprightness your greatest care. When the Nazarene here uses the word “kingdom” he first means that opportunity to gain entrance into the kingdom or realm of the Son which is the Church, the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints with its heavenly call (Matthew 13:41; Colossians 1:12; Hebrews 3:1). This “righteousness” is not that of the Law but those commandments of the Lord (John 14:15; 1John 3:23).

[24] Do not be overly concerned about tomorrow: Apparently he does not mean ‘give no thought of the morrow’ for the Nazarene himself prepares for the future day on occasion. The Greek MERIMNESETE may be rendered anxious or worry. It is often used in the context of “concern” and thus the use of “overly concerned.” Some reasonable concern is necessary as shown in Jesus’ instructions regarding the colt and the upper room. Compare Job 14:1 and Exodus 16:4, 19: depression. Various renderings are: MOF: so never be troubled; KNX: do not fret.

Note a practical commentary on this verse at Philippians 4:11-13. It takes a certain natural or developed bent of mind to trust in God to such an extent and the majority of Christians who ever lived were not of this caliber. Paul, after the Nazarene’s model, was such a person who took the Lord’s word at face value and lived his life accordingly. An unnamed scribe, overcome by the crowds, and the healing works of this wandering Rabbi, offered, ‘I will follow you anywhere.’ Jesus’ simple reply pointed the difficult way,

‘Foxes have dens, birds have roosts, but I have nowhere to sleep. Come, follow me!’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Words and promises are big but deeds and examples are few. Today millions are spent on treatment for anxiety and depression. It is obvious the more things one has to care for or worry about, the more anxiety occupies and distracts, leading to those modern ills. In the end, even the most security conscious have no control over his finances, his life, his inheritance. For an example, a commentary on this verse, there is none better than Luke 12:13-34.

‘Tomorrow will have its own concerns.’ You can rely on this as much as death and taxes! One day at a time, as the AA phrase goes, is right out of the Nazarene’s teachings. Most anxieties are not worth the time and energy wasted on them, for those real fears do not materialize in most cases; and in those justified cases, the majority of time there is little that can be done about them. Each day’s badness, evil, or anxieties is sufficient, so why fret about those which have not yet appeared? Why add to it all by anxiety and those attitudes and actions which it creates?

[25] Hardships of each day are enough: There are those “hardships” which are beyond our control, like an earthquake, or the outbreak of war, or a wave of persecution, or sudden illness. There are those hardships which we bring upon ourselves by bad decisions, laziness, stupidity, or poor preparation.

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Preceding articles

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

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

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

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

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

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Man enticed to long for more

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Additional reading

  1. 19° century Londoners, religion and heretical opinions
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  3. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  4. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Dealing with worries in our lives
  8. Give your worries to God
  9. Look for today
  10. Rejoicing in the day
  11. God Feeds The Birds
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity

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Further reading

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2016
  2. Sermon on Matthew 6.24-34 (Audio)
  3. Two Masters
  4. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: God or Mammon
  5. Seek First The Kingdom Of GOD: Two Masters – What is Mammon?
  6. FAact Food #673 The English word ‘mammon’ is a direct rip-off from Latin’s ‘mammona’ meaning ‘wealth’. In the New Testament of the Bible, the term ‘mammon’ is associated with greedy pursuit of profit through …
  7. Seek First The Kingdom Of God: Two Masters – You Can Serve Only One
  8. The Idols of the Nations
  9. Mammon: Word of the day for September 13, 2016
  10. Do You Know The Word Mammon?
  11. “Mammon : The desire for wealth personified as an evil spirit or a malign influence. Often mammon:…”
  12. Mammon
  13. Mammon 2
  14. Mammon 3
  15. Mammon, Mountains and Donations
  16. God or mammon?
  17. God and Mammon (Revisited)
  18. God or Money
  19. 24 October: Mammon, money, need and greed
  20. Duchies of Hell: Mammon
  21. Mighty Mammon vs. Almighty God
  22. Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas
  23. The Betrayal of Jesus: Then and Now
  24. Should Christians Buy Stocks?
  25. Immanuel Kant Interlude – Compulsory Idleness
  26. Daily Mass: Whom do you serve, God or mammon? Catholic Inspiration
  27. 12 April, Relics X: Blood Money
  28. James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 4:1-17
  29. Help Us Dear Lord Not To Call You A Liar – Part 3
  30. Money and Happiness
  31. The greatest world religion? – materialism!
  32. The Almighty Dollar
  33. Do You Love Money?
  34. Need
  35. God Almighty, or the god of money?
  36. God wants us to be free from bondage to greed
  37. You Cannot Serve Both God & Riches
  38. Christianity held hostage
  39. Propensity for Prosperity
  40. Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?
  41. Christianity Targeted by Corrupt Government
  42. Worship only God
  43. Prosperity Preachers
  44. The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers
  45. I Wrestled With A Preacher In My Dreams

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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Matthew 6:19-23

d) ‘Treasures’ and neighbor love

|| Luke 11:34-36

MT6:19 “Do not[1] treasure[2] up for yourselves ‘treasures’ on earth where moth and rust consume[3] and where thieves break in and steal. MT6:20 But, treasure up ‘treasures’ in heaven[4] where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves cannot break in and steal. MT6:21 For where your ‘treasure’ is there your heart will be also.[5] MT6:22 The lamp of the body is the eye.[6] So, if your eye is focused right[7] your whole body will know the Way. MT6:23 But, if your eye is focused wrong[8] your whole body will be blind.[9] So, if the ‘Light’ in you is ‘Dark’[10] – O, how much darkness!

*

[1] Do not: The negative commands of the Nazarene. The phrase “do not” occurs over 200 times in the Gospels. The Nazarene says,

‘Those that love me, my true friends, will keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15; 15:12, 14)

There about 60 “commands” of the Nazarene in the Gospels, some negative, some positive. In the 600 laws of Moses it is estimated by some that 60% are negative and 40% positive. For a complete consideration read Nazarene Commandments©.

[2] Treasure: This is the Greek word from which the English thesaurus comes. The word occurs 15 times in Matthew and Luke. A more modern word for it would be “save” or “store.” Compare Luke 12:20: savings. Various renderings: store up no treasures for yourselves; don’t pile up treasures on earth. Is it fair to state that the Nazarene discouraged “savings” in a material sense? In all the Christian Bible there are only two exhortations to “save.” (1 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 4:28) Both deal with “saving” in order to give to those in need. One cannot “save” and at the same time ‘sell belongings to give to the poor’ (Luke 12:33). Unless this be a brief and momentary storage in preparation to give to the needy.

Stop saving! is a Nazarene command not to horde or store despite any supposed encouragement in the Solomonic Proverbs to the contrary. Whatever the Proverbs might counsel, ‘God now speaks by His Son.’ (Hebrews 1:1) This is a severe test of faith when the Western or Capitalist World is encouraging exactly the opposite.

The Nazarene and his disciples lived what he taught. Ghandi noted that Jesus was the only religious leader who actually lived what he preached. Solomon had a yearly income of 666 talents of gold. But, Jesus and Peter were unable to come up with the Temple tax, something like two-bits, and had to resort to a piscerian miracle to pay their proper debt so as not to stumble any (Matthew 17:25-27).

Money, material things, possessions and property (riches) can have a powerful influence on love of neighbor. Nothing can injure relations between friends or brothers more than riches. Seldom do the rich or propertied socialize with the poor or needy. These two classes have been separated from that first moment money was invented.

[3] Consume: It is true that in modern times rust and moths do not have the same affect on money as in the First Century. However, there are still thieves, and more importantly there is always the danger of electronic viruses, or transmission failures, or banking collapses that endanger hard earned savings. There is a prophetic warning in The Apocalypse about a future world power with the capacity to enforce the entire globe to use an “engraving” in order to “buy or sell.” (Revelation ch. 13) So, there are other forms of “moths” and “rust” and “thieves,” as property and financial accounts exist in an electronic atmosphere of computer wizardry always dependent on electric power, and totally under the control of economic powers, constantly manipulating stock markets, and materialistic institutions under the control of greedy persons world-wide.

[4] Heaven: The Celestial Bank protected by God! (Note Luke 12:33, 34: sell and heart; Luke 16:9: friends) Various renderings: WMS: keep on storing up your riches in heaven. Heavenly treasure is God’s view of what is valuable (Proverbs 2:1-9: treasure) and it includes the “gold” of faith founded on Christ (1 Corinthians 3:12 and 1 Peter 1:7: tested faith). The Greek for “treasure” is the English “thesaurus” which is a dictionary of words. This is apropos with regard to the Divine Thesaurus found in the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16: inspired).

[5] Where your ‘treasure’ is there your heart will be also: It is left to the heart of each Friend of the Nazarene to determine the degree these teachings will be followed. Each person is in a different set of circumstances. However, the spirit of all of this cannot be ignored (1 Timothy 6:9, 10: materialism). There is no better indicator judging a person’s heart than how one uses and views money (1 John 3:17; James 2:15, 16; Matthew 25:31-46). This is surely “the bottom line” with most persons concerned about earthly credits and debits, unaware of the Divine Accountant who is keeping a perfect set of books (Revelation 20:12-14). Most will find themselves in the “red” with God, and unless they repentantly plead their cause and admit their materialism as a desertion of Christ, they can expect no payment except that gleaned from earthly coffers.

One way to judge the “heart” is what a person talks about. That is, what are the main subjects that occupy a persons dialogue and communications? Is the central topic those things of a spiritual nature, or do material matters dominate speech? (Consider Ephesians 5:3-5, 12)

[6] The lamp of the body is the eye: Still on the subject of earthly or celestial treasures, the Nazarene turns to the eye: what and how it looks at various matters. Light enters the eye as an opening to the body or the entire person as a physical entity. However, spiritual light imbues the inner person, the Nazarene Saint’s Transformed Mind. The purpose of this divine illumination is to direct each footstep in the direction of God’s path (Psalm 119:105: lamp).

[7] Focused right: The Greek involved here is APLOUS and is variously translated “simple, sincere, generous, single, unclouded.” The word occurs in various forms in contexts of simplicity and generosity (Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2), sound or sincere (Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34), and, liberal (James 1:5). It seems to us the Nazarene’s subject is how we view matters and if our eye is healthy, and therefore focuses well, we will look properly on things and persons. The simple eye is generous in giving because it does not fret or worry about tomorrow’s anxieties, and so the view or focus on the morrow is bright with gleaming hopes of that “real life” only God can give (1 Timothy 6:19: real life).

Adam’s “eye” was focused wrongly and rather than see the Tree as harmful he viewed it as good (Genesis 3:6). Note the Nazarene’s offer of “eyesalve” to the materialistic in Revelation 3:17, 18. Compare the beloved Apostle’s thought at 1 John 2:16.

Luke 11:33-36 puts the subject of the well-focused eye in the context of the light hidden under a basket. Verse 34: ‘When your eye is single (simple, sincere, generous, focused) your whole body will be illuminated.’ There are various warnings in Proverbs about eyesight and how one views or does not view something (Proverbs 4:25; 23:31). The Bible provides numerous real-life examples of the improper “eye”: Eve (Genesis 3:6); Achan (Joshua 7:21); David (2 Samuel 11:2).

The association of the eye with the word “generous” is a good one when considering Jesus’ sub theme of neighbor love and charity. Note the word “beholds” at 1 John 3:17 (James 2:15, 16). Note also: ‘The generous eye will be blessed, the one who feeds the poor’ (Proverbs 22:9); and, ‘Eat not the bread of the one with a selfish eye, nor desire his delicacies, for he inwardly figures the expense.’ (Proverbs 23:6)

[8] Focused wrong: Various renderings: KJ: evil; TCNT: diseased; MOF: if your eye is selfish; NOR: if you have poor eyesight. The wicked eye, which is wrongly focused, is the envious one who cannot be satisfied with those things already possessed, but must have more than his neighbor. Such a wrongly focused eye is covetous. The Nazarene warns at Luke 12:15:

‘With eyes wide open, guard against covetousness, because Life does not come from possessions.’

The “evil eye” is greedy and desires more of what his neighbor has and is stingy when it comes to showing love to his neighbor.

[9] Blind: The Greek literally, ‘The whole body will be dark’ inferring blindness.

[10] If the ‘Light’ in you is ‘Dark’: Various renderings are: TCNT: inner light is darkness; WMS: the very source of light in you is darkness. On the exterior there is the appearance of light as an illuminator of souls (Romans 2:19) but inside the divided heart is bedarkened by choices between God and Riches. No greater darkness can there be than the person who thinks by his riches to serve God with extravagant contributions to holy orders – often with show and often with the purchase of another Saint’s soul – believing by such charity the way into the Kingdom of God is purchased.

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Preceding articles

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

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

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

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

Written down for God to bring us up to a virtuous life

A look at materialism

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Man enticed to long for more

Anxiety and neighbor love

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Additional reading

  1. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  2. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  3. Capitalism
  4. The Proper Place of Excess
  5. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  6. Charity & Egoism
  7. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  8. The Culture of Excesses- Losing Humanity
  9. Summermonths and consumerism
  10. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  11. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  12. Material gain to honour God
  13. Stop and Think
  14. The Giant evil and danger for the country
  15. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  16. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  17. Faith Over Fear
  18. Beginning a Path toward Distributism: A Brief Definition
  19. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  20. How do you define religion?
  21. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  22. From Winterdarkness into light of Spring
  23. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  24. Message of Pope Francis I for the 48th World Communications Day
  25. Preparing for the Kingdom
  26. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  27. Four Pressing Needs in Rural Communities, and How the Church Should Respond
  28. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #2 Instructions and Laws
  29. Blindness in the Christian world

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Further reading

  1. Consumerism
  2. Damned Acquisitiveness
  3. Because we are living in a material world, but I refuse to be a material girl.
  4. Materialism Today
  5. Materialism: Why happiness eludes us
  6. A message about materialism
  7. He is a slave of materialism. Dont buy things you cant afford.
  8. Materialism and the Church
  9. What is Important to You?
  10. Life, lost
  11. The Price is Wrong
  12. Ep 13: Christianity and Socialism
  13. Intro to Minimalism
  14. Our culture is damaging our well-being
  15. Quick Thought – Monday, July 17, 2017
  16. Truth lies not in the middle
  17. How Simple is Living Simply?
  18. What Did the Poor Ever Do to You?
  19. Materialists, their eye on the rear view mirror
  20. What is Right What is Wrong
  21. The Absolute Laws of Science Refute Atheism and Materialism.God scatters
  22. How some rich people are trying to dismantle inequality
  23. charity:water
  24. What would Jesus have us do?

+++

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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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

MT5:17 “Do not think I came to destroy[1] the Torah[2] or the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill.[3] MT5:18 For I tell you this truth: Sooner would heaven and earth pass away before one iota or a single dot[4] passes from the Torah and not all of it be fulfilled. MT5:19 So, anyone who breaks the ‘least’ commandment[5] and so teaches men will be called ‘Least’ in the Heavenly Realm. But, anyone who obeys and teaches them[6] will be called Great in the Heavenly Realm. MT5:20 For I am telling you: If your ‘righteousness’[7] does not surpass the Scribes and Pharisees[8] you will not enter the Heavenly Realm

*

[1] I came to destroy: Probably a charge waiting to be made by the Nazarene’s opposers, the religious hierarchy which prided itself on the preservation of Moses’ Law.

The phrase “I came” is the only intimation that the Nazarene was sent by God. Jesus confesses in John chs 5-8 that he speaks nothing of his own originality but rather those things taught to him by his Father. Here Christ comes from the Celestial Realm. He has the brilliance and vocabulary to say anything he wants. The Mountain Teachings are the first public sermon of the Nazarene.

[2] Torah: Or, the “law” referring mainly to that of Moses but including non-Biblical views expressed by the Ancients. Here begins possibly what the crowd and the Nazarene’s disciples wanted to know: where did Jesus stand on the subject of the Law? Virtually the rest of the sermon is a commentary on the law or Torah with a famous summation of it in Matthew 7:12.

[3] Fulfill: Various renderings: GDSP: enforce; KNX: bring them to perfection. First, the Nazarene as Christ ‘comes’ to set an example of how to follow the Law perfectly. Next, he fulfills all those elements of the Law which are “shadows” of realities (Hebrews 10:1). Paul writes, ‘Christ is the end of the Law.’ By Christ, the Nazarene Saint is ‘released from the Law.’ (Romans 7:1-5) Paul echoes the Nazarene later when he writes, ‘For all the Law is fulfilled in one statement: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.”’ (Galatians 5:14) Jesus words may be illustrated by a normal human contract with another: there is a difference between arbitrarily and unilaterally ‘destroying’ or breaking the contract and fulfilling your end of the agreement (Galatians 3:14).

The words “I came” are the only hint in the sermon which indicate his overall mission from God (John 4:25).

[4] Dot: The Greek word is IOTA. These words are best understood if one watches a skilled Jewish copyist painstakingly copying every ‘dot and tittle’ of the Hebrew manuscript. Such efforts (Romans 3:1) will not go unfulfilled until everything purposed by God in the Law and Prophets is realized.

[5] ‘Least’ commandment: The commandments have degrees. Here is described a person who not only violates one of these ‘least’ commands but also teaches others to do so. Such is verging on apostasy from the Law of Moses for which Paul was accused (Acts 21:21). As far as individuals are concerned there are degrees of “great” and “least” in the “kingdom.” This is something the disciples were aware of, for two of them got their mother to approach Jesus asking him to see to it that they sat at his right and left in the Kingdom. Note Matthew 11:11 where the ‘least’ in the Kingdom is still greater than John the Baptist. Can the Nazarene mean that a person who breaks even a small law and teaches others to do so will be in the “kingdom” of the heaven, that is, the Father’s Kingdom? Or, does he mean, in the Realm of Profession, the Kingdom/Church? (Matthew 13:41)

[6] Teaches them: It would appear that “teaching” is a prerequisite for being among the ‘great’ in the Realm of Profession (Hebrews 5:12).

[7] Righteousness: Is this a tongue in cheek sentence? This subject of “righteousness” is key to both Paul and John. Paul warns of self-righteousness or that righteousness of the Law; and, John writes of the true righteousness. “Righteousness” means the state of being “right” or correct in attitude, speech and action.

Deutsch: Christus im Hause des Pharisäers, Jac...

Jesus Christ in the house of the pharisees – Jacopo Tintoretto, Escorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[8] Pharisees: Much the butt of Jesus’ censure and condemnation. Jesus never condemns righteousness itself, but that hypocritical self-righteousness which characterizes religious hierarchies of any kind.

 

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light shining bright

Next: Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13

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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

The Sermon on the mount
(Nazarene Mountain teachings)

(Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 || Luke 6:20-23)

Chapter Five:
The Blessed and legal commentaries

Matthew 5:1-2 – The Setting

MT5:1 Observing the crowds Jesus went up into the mountains and after he reclined his disciples approached him. MT5:2 And Jesus opened his mouth and began teaching them.

Matthew 5:3-12 – Introduction: Attitudes for Happiness

|| Luke 6:20-23

MT5:3 “Blessed[1] the poor as to the spirit[2] for the Heavenly Realm[3] is theirs.
MT5:4 Blessed those mourning[4] for they will be comforted.[5]
MT5:5 Blessed the meek[6] for they will inherit the earth.[7]
MT5:6 Blessed those hungering and thirsting for righteousness[8] for they will be filled.[9]
MT5:7 Blessed the merciful[10] for they will be shown mercy.
MT5:8 Blessed the pure in heart[11] for they will see[12] The God.[13]
MT5:9 Blessed the peaceable people[14] for they will be called ‘Sons of The God.’[15] MT5:10 Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness.[16] The Heavenly Realm[17] is theirs.
MT5:11 Blessed are you when they reproach[18] and persecute and speak evil lies against you because of me.[19] MT5:12 Rejoice and exult[20] for your heavenly reward is great! For this is the same way they persecuted the former prophets.[21]

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[1] Blessed: Perhaps the opening words are among the most well known after the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule. Most of the key elements in the Beatitudes are expanded in the main body of the Nazarene’s sermon. These subjects are: poverty, comfort, mildness, righteousness, charity, purity, peaceableness, persecution.

The Greek word MAKARIOI is more than the English “happy” or even the KJV “blessed.” The English word “happy” generally means a temporary moment of elation. It is doubtful this is what the Nazarene had in mind. “Blessed” also falls short unless one thinks of the word as including divine favor. The Greek word here infers a supreme measure of joy because of a divine state of favor before the Father. It is variously rendered: how happy, how blessed. The Nazarene borrows the idea from the Psalms where the word occurs 28 times, often in a similar vein by David. “Happy” occurs 138 times in the Bible. Luke uses it the most often in the Christian Bible (17 times) and Revelation contains the Seven Apocalyptic Beatitudes, 7 times (Revelation 1:3;14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14).

[2] The poor as to the spirit: This is the most literal reading according to the Greek, but it has been dealt with in various matters. Most prefer to render it, ‘the poor in spirit but that is not exactly what the Greek says. A possibility is Blessed the poor Spiritual. Various renderings are: destitute in spirit (RHM), rating themselves insignificant (AMP), those who feel their spiritual need (GDSP), humble-minded (PHI), how blest are those who know that they are poor (NEB), those conscious of their spiritual need (NWT). Perhaps the most direct commentary would be that of Luke who words this introduction simply, ‘Happy are the poor’ (Luke 6:20). Word Studies in the New Testament (Vol 1, page 36):

“It is very graphic and appropriate here, as denoting the utter spiritual destitution, the consciousness of which precede the entrance into the Kingdom of God.”

The word “poor” occurs 22 times in the Gospels. Perhaps Paul and James draw on the Master’s words when they paraphrase, ‘God chose the poor’? [1 Corinthians 1:27, 28; James 2:5] If we accept Luke’s bias we must understand Jesus’ words here as emphasizing poverty, a condition in which one must depend upon others for the necessities of life. This state is emphasized later in the sermon. The poor ‘spirituals’ have only God to look to for help. Jesus was poor as were his disciples and later Paul. The word group “rich(es)” occurs nearly 200 times in the Bible with the first occurrence at Genesis 14:23 (Abraham) and most often in the OT, Proverbs (12 times) and in the NT, Luke (16 times).

Luke records perhaps another occasion in chapter Luke 6:24 in the very spirit of James 5:1, ‘Happy are the poor’ and then ‘woe to the rich’. The life of Jesus, the example of his Apostles in Acts chs 2-6, and the manner of Paul, all point to the deep meaning behind the word “poor” here. There is a danger in “riches” which Paul stresses at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. We feel the Greek PTOKHOI ought to remain as “Poor” or “the destitute” for this is Luke’s view and the “Poor” feature prominently in the Nazarene’s teachings.

[3] Heavenly Realm: (MOF) Literally this is “the kingdom of the heavens” but the Greek BASILEIA may refer to a seat of government in a monarchy or to the realm, domain or territory over which such a kingdom rules. Two views may be present here: a) an actual place in the future government of the King; or, b) opportunity for entrance into the Realm of Profession, or the Church itself. Sometimes Jesus uses the word “kingdom” to mean that position of rulership in the heavens and other times he refers to being a subject of the King. There are two kingdoms in the Nazarene’s teachings: 1) the Son’s; and, 2) the Father’s. Compare Matthew 13:41, 43.

The word “kingdom” occurs a total of 366 times in the Bible with 63 in Daniel. In the Nazarene’s teachings “kingdom” occurs 55 times in Matthew, 23 times in Mark, and 45 times in Luke. It is a theme word or key topic of the Nazarene’s sayings.

[4] Mourning: Note how Luke 6:21 puts this, weeping. Messiah (the Christ) was anointed to ‘comfort those mourning in Zion.’ (Isaiah 61:1,3; Luke 4:16) Various renderings are: sad (BAS); know what sorrow means (PHI). The world is not an altogether happy place and life dishes out its share of pain. Paul describe it as ‘a season of groaning pain.’ (Romans 8:22) The word group “mourn(ing)” occurs about 100 times in the Bible.

[5] Comforted: Or, consoled, given courage. The comfort is found in God and that Spirit He sends through Christ as the Comforter (John chs 14-16). The word “comfort” is rare in the Nazarene’s teachings but the idea breathes throughout the body of his sayings (Psalms 126:5; 2 Corinthians 1:1-7).

[6] Meek: Various renderings are: gentle TCNT; patient KNX; humble-minded GDSP; of a gentle spirit NEB; happy are those who claim nothing PHI. The words of the Nazarene here are a paraphrase of Psalm 37:11 (LXX = HOI DE PRAEIS KLERONOUESOUSI GEN. Note Daniel’s KLERON at Daniel 12:13) The “meek” here are those who will possess the Kingdom (verse 3), will see God (verse 8) and who will ‘inherit the nations’ as does the Messiah (Psalm 2:8; 72:8; Daniel 7:14, 27). The Nazarene was characterized by a mild-temper but this did not prevent him from displaying his anger or rebuke against the religious powers as well as his own disciples. The meek are non-confrontational, non-adversarial, non-aggressive, and not given to insisting on their own opinions. Even the Nazarene says, ‘If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge.’ (John 12:47) Jesus was not judgmental save against those religious teachers who ought to know better (Matthew chapter 23).

[7] Inherit the earth: Note Psalm 2:8. These “meek” inherit the earth as the realm or territory of their rule (1 Corinthians 6:2; Daniel 7:27; Revelation 5:10).

[8] Hungering and thirsting for righteousness: This whole idea is right out of the Psalms (Psalm 63:1) and repeated in the Apocalypse (Rev 21:6; 22:17). Various renderings are: being and doing right (WMS); to see right prevail (NEB). Though many men may not thirst for righteousness in a moral sense, they do thirst for justice as seen in the multitude of revolutions throughout history. The Nazarene disciple must crave right or righteousness as if it were food. It is John who describes those ‘born from above’ as those who do not habitually sin but practice righteousness (1 John chs 2 and 3). This craving is not self-righteous or overly-righteous but a desire to see justice done with living evidence in the Saint’s life (Amos 8:11).

[9] Filled: Or, “satisfied.” See Luke 6:21.

[10] Merciful: Various renderings are: compassionate WEY; those who show mercy WMS. The Latin merci (French for “thank you”) is rooted in the gift paid mercenaries and so its strongest thrust is not forgiveness or judgment withheld as much as it is a gift of charity to the needy. The Nazarene Saint is characterized by a non-judgmental, forgiving and charitable spirit toward those in greater need.

[11] Pure in heart: Various renderings are: clean in heart (BAS); utterly sincere (PHI). This phrase gets to the root of motives in all that the Nazarene Saint does. There are no hidden agendas or games to be played against others. Utter guilelessness, like that of their Lord, is an attribute of the Transformed Mind (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 7:26). Such a disposition is only learned after years of tolerance, patience, and that true selfless interest in others called “love”.

[12] They will see: Perhaps the most sublime hope ever given to humans. To see The God is a true prospect for the Nazarene Saint (See 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:4). “Face” can have a metamorphic tone as a concordance will show (Job 33:26).

[13] The God: In Greek this is TON THEON as it is in John 1:1 and refers almost without exception to the Creator, the Almighty, The God. Though in English “the” is often omitted we feel it wise to include it in all cases where the article appears. The God stands in contrast to other “gods.” (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6)

[14] Peaceable people: Various renderings are: makers and maintainers of peace (AMP). See Romans 12:18 and James 3:18. The Nazarene Saint is characterized by a non-adversarial, non-confrontational, and peace-seeking disposition. In Spanish translations this is often pacififadores from which “pacifist” is drawn. Ghandi taught, “I am willing to die for this cause, but there is no cause for which I am willing to kill.” This peaceable disposition is illustrated in the Nazarene’s later words at Matthew 5:22, 39-42. Compare Colossians 3:15.

[15] Sons of The God: This is a phrase used of angels in Genesis 6:1 and Job 2:1 and is the grand relationship of those willing to be peaceable in their natures, to become true children of God (John 1:12,13). This relationship is a feature of John’s Gospel and letters. If one wishes to be styled a child of God then peaceableness must characterize their Transformed Mind (Romans 12:1, 18).

[16] Persecuted for righteousness: The reason for the persecution must be for righteousness and not for some crime or evil as Peter himself teaches (1 Peter chs 2 – 4). The Nazarene’s audience were persecuted Jews under Roman domination. Additionally, Jesus knew of the future periods of oppression against his own disciples and foretold it at Matthew 24:9-11. Luke uses the word “hate” at Luke 6:22.

[17] Heavenly Realm: This can mean that ultimate “goal” which Paul sought (Philippians 3:14) and which is promised the Saints (Daniel 7:27) or that opportunity opened up by the Nazarene to enter the Realm of Profession, the Son’s “kingdom”, his Church (Matthew 13:41; 16:18; Colossians 1:13). As Paul writes, persecution is part and parcel of the Christian way of life (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).

[18] Reproach: Various renderings are: MOF: denounce; GDSP: abuse; BAS: give you a bad name; WEY: every cruel thing; PHI: slanderous. Often, it is true, the source of this is from the present ruling powers; but, it is also true that this abuse comes from a religious source within one’s own Faith as in the case of the Jewish clergy against the Nazarene (John 16:1,2 and Acts chs 4, 5). The worse kind of reproach is from fellow believers who charge “apostasy” and thus make themselves liable to Gehenna (Matthew 5:2).

[19] Because of me: Elsewhere in the Nazarene’s teachings this is “because of my name” (Matthew 24:9) as historically demonstrated in the Book of Acts. It is the name “Jesus” or “Christ” that brings the reproach and persecution (Acts 2:38; 3:6, 16; 4:7, 10, 12, 17, 18, 30; 5:28, 40, 41; 8:12, 16; 9:14, 15, 16, 21, 27, 28; 10:43, 48; 15:26; 16:18; 19:5, 13; 21:13; 22:16; 26:9).

[20] Rejoice and exult: See Luke 6:23. Various renderings are: WEY: be joyful and triumphant; WMS: leaping for ecstasy; KN: glad and light-hearted. Luke also adds “excluded or separated.” (Luke 6:23)

[21] The former prophets: Surely, the Nazarene thinks of Elijah and his persecution by Ahab and Jezebel. Compare Matthew 23:35. Even Moses the Prophet was abused by his sister and other rebels. According to tradition Isaiah was killed by King Manasseh.

Beatitudes-sermon-on-mount

Beatitudes-sermon-on-mount (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

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Additional reading

  1. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  2. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  3. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  4. Right to be in the surroundings
  5. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything

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  89. Sermon on the Mount Part 4: Theosis
  90. Seventh Sunday after Epiphany -y. A Br Andrew 2017
  91. Be Good!
  92. Sermon: All You Need Is … ?
  93. But I say to you: patterns
  94. Romans 12 & the Sermon on the Mount
  95. Tolstoy Prophesies the Fall of America
  96. Great In The Kingdom
  97. Leaving it all on the course for Him Matthew 5:21
  98. The Great Invitation: This, Not That – Sermon on Matthew 5:21-37
  99. Lectionary Sermon February 12 2017 Epiphany 6 A (St Valentine’s Sunday) on Matthew 5: 21 – 37
  100. But I say to you: smallest part
  101. Give to the one who asks you
  102. Righteousness: context
  103. Righteousness: against the grain
  104. Righteousness: extra mile
  105. Being Perfect: Sermon for February 19, 2017
  106. Be Perfect
  107. Anything beyond this is from the evil one…
  108. Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 7, Yr A)
  109. The Sedition of Christ – A Sermon on Matthew 5:38-48
  110. Preparing to Preach on Jesus’ Teaching on Non-Violence: Matthew 5:38-48
  111. Lectionary sermon for 19 February 2017 on Matthew 5:38-48
  112. Lowering the Bar
  113. Next Verse Same As the First 2-19-17
  114. God’s Perfect Life (Matthew 5:38-48)
  115. The First Mile
  116. Holy, Perfect, The People of God: A Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, 2017
  117. Be Perfect | 7th after Epiphany
  118. Matthew 5:21-37 – First be reconciled to your brother or sister
  119. A New Standard (Matthew 5:21-37)
  120. Misc. Wednesday: Love Your Enemies
  121. What do you do when Jesus says to love your enemies?
  122. The Power of Love: a sermon for Epiphany 7A – Matthew 5:38-48
  123. Sabbath Monday: Love Thy Neighbor
  124. Love Completely
  125. Love your enemies
  126. Praying for enemies
  127. Love (even) your enemies
  128. It’s Always About Love
  129. Loving our enemies means liking them, too
  130. Getting Angry
  131. No, You Do Not Have to Hit Back!
  132. 2/19/2017 Turn the Other Cheek
  133. turn the other cheek
  134. Redemptive Anger
  135. But I say to you: anger
  136. The Dark Secret of Anger
  137. Loving our Enemies: Subversive Love as Nonviolent Resistance
  138. Love your enemies
  139. Sermon for February 19, 2017
  140. Matthew 5:38-48: About Revenge – Part I
  141. Matthew 5:38-48: About Revenge – Part II
  142. What fruit do you produce?
  143. The Private Lent
  144. Righteousness: loving
  145. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  146. Why are People Repelled by Christians?
  147. On Being a Lily of the Field
  148. The sun also rises
  149. Stir me, O Lord, to care
  150. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  151. The most frightening words Wesley ever preached
  152. Sermon on the Mount Part 3: You Have Heard it Said…But I Say to You…
  153. Loving God with our Minds
  154. But I say to you: readings
  155. But I say to you: context
  156. Put me to what You will
  157. Wanting the Impossible
  158. What if Everything I Think I Know is Wrong?
  159. What God’s Growing
  160. Choose life so that you and your descendants
  161. Choosing Life
  162. Show your work – a sermon
  163. A spirit of reconciliation
  164. Deep Preaching
  165. Nobel Peace Laureate: “Nonviolence is the path to human security”
  166. Blessed Are the Meek
  167. It isn’t Easy to Follow Jesus
  168. What are we here for?
  169. The University of Life- and the Mind of Christ
  170. Sending
  171. practice makes perfect
  172. Calculating Vice
  173. It’s Hard and It Matters
  174. Shine on
  175. Facebook is for Murderers
  176. Mountain Meditation: Kingdom Living
  177. There are certain actions in the Kingdom
  178. Becoming What You Already Are
  179. Forgetting and Repeating the Past
  180. Whose Side Are We on?
  181. All You Need to Do
  182. A Christian’s Character
  183. Blessings
  184. The Prayer on the Mount
  185. You might be a Disciple
  186. Ode to Joy
  187. i never knew you
  188. Spiritual Reorientation
  189. Choosing Mercy – a sermon
  190. Wait! What?!
  191. Blessed
  192. Blessed Are The Preposterous
  193. Blessing: You keep on using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means
  194. Recognizing Blessings
  195. The Beatitudes: What We Really Are
  196. Authentic Christianity
  197. A Whole LifeTime
  198. Respond In Love
  199. Forgiveness Sunday
  200. The Controversy of Blessedness
  201. All Things New…
  202. Make peace
  203. Kindness~Love~Honor
  204. Making the World a Better Place
  205. A Dozen of Them – The Final Chapters
  206. The Offensivness of Kindness?
  207. The Golden Rule
  208. The Golden Rule says “Do” unto others
  209. Applying the Golden Rule
  210. Judge or not to Judge??

+++

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Soon after the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) had started his public life and had chosen some disciples, he found them following him and receiving more followers who wanted to hear him talking about many things which concerned them or which where about the general customs and religious life of the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee and used open as well as covered spaces, like synagogues but also planes and mountain slopes. Jesus knew his divine task, having placed in a special way on this earth to show people the Way to God. Jesus knew very well Who that One True God is all people should come to know.  He very well knew his own place, being lower than angels and being a son of God, the Most High without Jesus could do nothing.

He must have been special. Though the religious leaders despised him but the people wondered who this man could be and where curious for what they could hear from others about miracles he could perform.

Sites of Christianity in the Galillee - Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel.jpg

Capernaum synagogue

Jesus went from one place to an other telling about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel. He taught people the truth of God and God’s kingdom was his theme. He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Those actions he did, got many curious about this personage and word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Mount of Beatitudes, seen from Capernaum

When he was in the region of Capernaum again there were a lot of people who had come to see him and who where eager to hear what he had to tell.  Jesus saw all those crowds, coming from different places, following him and went up the mountain or hill (the Greek word can mean either) the Mount of Beatitudes.

Some commentators see here an intended contrast to Sinai, where the Law was given. However, there are no grounds, implicit or explicit, for identifying the mountain as a “New Sinai.” {Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 103). New York: United Bible Societies.}

From Matthew’s choice of verbs we can imagine that the situation was all about a moment of teaching, Jesus tutoring. It does not matter so much if Matthew and Luke wrote about the same or of a different occasion where Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Mt and Lk as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.
The prevailing opinion among NT scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Mt bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

In any case even when it is a summary it is a teaching every Christian should seriously take at heart. Jesus was not afraid to talk at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5–7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Mt, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Lk. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Because there is written that the disciples came to sit by Jesus many think Jesus was mainly addressing them. Even when this is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists, the separation from the multitudes and the direction of Jesus his words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked; being the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of his disciples and a great number of people from Judaea, Jerus and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words,

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,”

is that his address was intended especially for the latter.

This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Today we should look at those texts also as a lesson to all those who want to call themselves “Christian” which means “to be a follower of Christ“. Christians too should be disciples of Christ Jesus and should follow the words of the Nazarene master teacher. Not especially being a digest of Christ his teaching the account in Matthew 5 delivers a short of the attitudes a Christian should take.

Today because so many people calling themselves Christian, but more following human doctrines instead of keeping to the Biblical doctrines, may find Jesus’ words very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches that happiness or luck comes from material wealth, absence of sorrow, and which teaches revenge or retaliation and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. Lots of people do find it right to punish wrongdoers and even would not mind if their life was taken away, though on other occasions they are totally against women taking contraceptives considering this murder or killing an unborn life.

The writer who records the most challenging command Jesus ever gave his followers:

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

looks at the teaching of Jesus on our behaviour and living and presents an ethic code for his disciples and a measure for the behaviour of all believers.

Each time Jesus opens with the word, which is recorded in Greek as “makarioi”, “blessed” or “happy”, which occurs nine times in verses 3–12. Many also call it “beatitudes”. Each beatitude having three parts: an ascription of blessing (happiness), a specific virtue to be cultivated (the practice of each produces a positive result), and a promise relating to the kingdom (reward or special comfort as a reason for the promised happiness).

In the sermon we find that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who receive insults, are falsely accused and are persecuted on account of the Messiah may count on it that they are all blessed.

Certainly in Christendom we can find many true believers in Christ, those who accept Jesus for whom he really is, a man of flesh and blood who put his will aside to do the Will of the One God Who sent him to this world. Very often those real Christians are spit at and very often it are the trinitarian Christians who take on a very un-christian attitude to those believers. Those name Christians who prefer to keep to human doctrines and want to keep to the pagan rites and festivals, are often the worst in their attitude to the real or non-trinitarian Christians. Look around you and hear how your surroundings react to such Christians as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians or others who spread the Good News by giving pamphlets and by talking to people on the streets or by going from door to door. Often those who laugh at such Christians are not the gentle, and often they have more interest in the looks of people and the material wealth of themselves and others, instead of looking for the spiritual wealth.

In the world we can see many who sincerely love God and want to prefer to worship Him alone, who are therefore being harassed or molested. Be them Jews, Christians or Muslims, those who not like to take part in the pagan rituals, like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, are often looked at with a bad eye, or even spit on. They are laughed at, being considered compliant meek, soft ones and not by the time. To be meek does not mean to be weak. Jesus with his words concerning the meek ones looks at “meekness” meaning gentle restraint. it  Holds in a person can be showing gentlenessmildness, forbearance, submissiveness, humility or humbleness, modesty, submission and trying to bring peacefulness, sometimes even with acquiescence. We should remember that there it is about those who dare to take on an attitude which does not insist on one’s own rights but is giving itself for others, always ready to waive its privileges in the interests of others. “The meek” person is willing to wait for God’s timing being sure that God’s promises will become a reality and that God shall provide better times for all those who live according to God His commandments. That is our sacred hope we may find in Christ his offering, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God.

As Christian we should be taking every effort to follow Christ, to become in unity with him and his teaching, doing our utmost best to obey our heavenly Father. Living according to God’s commandments we can live with the promise to be able to live in the kingdom here on earth (“inherit the earth”). Though we should be well aware that this is not promised to the pushy, proud, ambitious, and domineering and to scourge those who do not believe in God or those who prefer to live differently than us.

Those who are humble and willing to undergo all the suffering in name of Christ or those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, may look forward for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They or we may rejoice, and be glad, for our reward in heaven shall be great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Jesus Christ in Capernaum

Jesus Christ in Capernaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus knew or knows we are not perfect, but that does not mean we should be happy with who we are at a certain moment. Every day we should work at ourselves and strive to become better. It is quite ready to love those who love us, but what about loving those who hate us? Concerning doing good, many unbelievers are doing good, so what would be the difference between a non-believer and a Christian? How many name Christian today we do hear speaking low about other coloured people or about people of an other religion? How many so called Christians do not despise other Christians and other believers or atheists and want them away from their community or surroundings. Lots of name Christians do not welcome others.

So many people consider them higher than others or more special. Often they consider themselves perfect or faultless and are not interested in changing their own world view, their mindset, their inclination or habit, their ethos and their assumptions. Lots of them even do not want to challenge themselves in any way and do not want to see that nobody is foolproof. Today we do find lots of so called Christians who are against the refugees and who wrong or oppress strangers, though they should know that is against the Will of God (Exodus 22:20-21). They are not interested in the war victims, the orphans and widow, though a lover of God should stand up for them and defend them (Isaiah 1:16-17). Several people who call themselves Christian should better ask themselves what this really should mean and should check if they can come under that denominator.

Christianity is all a matter of “love“.

Jesus asks his followers to consider the aspects of real love and of the will to work at the inner self, the way how to react to others and daring to put your own will aside to be there for others. Looking at the habits that have entered our life, Jesus requires to examine ourself and to become aware of our attitude we should take on in life.

God requires of us to worship Him as the Only One True God of gods and to keep His commandments, doing justice and to offer loving kindness or mercy to others, walk humbly with God. Jesus requires of us also to honour his heavenly Father and to worship Him alone. He also requires us to become like him and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, work for peace, and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted; to be merciful and comfort mourners; to be humble in spirit, meek, and pure in heart.

So let us listen very carefully to the Bible text in “Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries” and work at ourselves to become more like Christ fulfilling the Wish of God.

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

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Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. A season of gifts
  5. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  6. Are you being swept along by the world
  7. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  8. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  9. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  10. The meek one riding on an ass
  11. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

+++

Further reading

  1. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  2. Sermon from Matthew 5
  3. What Love Says and Does
  4. Loved Are We
  5. Beatitudes
  6. Beatitudes / Blessed are: (Matthew 5:3-12)
  7. Blessed Are… – Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
  8. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  9. What does the Lord require…?
  10. Blessed are the merciful: 4 Epiphany A
  11. Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)
  12. Sermon for January 29, 2017
  13. Sermon for 29 January 2017 on Matthew 5:1-12
  14. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/15/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Being Salt and Light”
  15. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/22/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Jesus and The Law”
  16. NBFMC Sermon Review (2/05/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Lust and Relationships”
  17. 4th Sunday, Year A | Being peacemakers in a divided society
  18. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2017)
  19. 4th Sunday After Epiphany, January 29, 2017
  20. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 2017
  21. Sermon on the Mount: Part 1
  22. Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Beatitudes
  23. Sermon on the Mount: Part 2
  24. 2017.01.15 Sermon On The Mount Part 1
  25. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1
  26. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2
  27. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 3
  28. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Light
  29. True Worship: Justice, Kindness, Walk Humbly
  30. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  31. Blocking your own witness
  32. How to deal with others
  33. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  34. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  35. Reconciling Jesus
  36. Be Perfect
  37. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  38. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  39. Giving and Getting It All
  40. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
  41. Be Nice to Me
  42. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  43. Our Relationship to the World
  44. The Love Question
  45. Love?
  46. A Life Well-Lived
  47. “No & Yes”
  48. Truth, love, and justice
  49. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
  50. We’re Salt & Light: But are we?
  51. Anger and murder
  52. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  53. Blessed are the Refugees
  54. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
  55. The Joy of Mercy
  56. “You are God’s field, God’s building”
  57. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
  58. …I’m gonna let it shine
  59. A toddler’s tale
  60. The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt
  61. Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?
  62. An Accurate Measurement for Your Life
  63. Authentic Christianity

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Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

|| Mark 1:39; 3:7, 8; Luke 4:14 – 15:44

MT4:23 And Jesus was traveling around the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,[1] preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and every infirmity among the people. MT4:24 And reports about Jesus circulated as far as Syria. They brought to Jesus all those faring badly, having a variety of diseases and afflicted with torments, the demon-possessed, the moonstruck[2] and paralytics – and Jesus cured them. MT4:25 And many crowds followed Jesus – from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem and Judea, and from the other side of the Jordan.

[1] Synagogues: Jesus does what Paul does later: as Jews they preach where Jews gather.

[2] Moonstruck: The Greek is SELENIA-ZOMENOUS and is variously translated: KJV: lunatick; ASV: epileptic; BAS: those who were out of their minds; PME: insane.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

Jehovah God Maker of the entire universe served by a well-trained army

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5

++

Additional reading

  1. A call easy to understand
  2. healing

+++

Further reading

  1. Hebrews 2:18 ” Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  2. “Preaching Jesus as God’s Wisdom: Breaking the Denial of Death”: Preaching – III Reconciliation — Explorations in Theology
  3. The love of Jesus
  4. One Jesus – Different Calls
  5. Thomas The Disciple: More Than A Doubter 1
  6. What Does ‘Fish for Men’ Mean?
  7. Faith & Fisherman
  8. God’s Anointed Messenger
  9. Luke 7: 13 ” When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, ‘Don’t cry.’ “
  10. Morning Coffee Flashback: 6/23/15 What We Are Called To Do! Pt1
  11. Mark 4: 26-29 ” He also said, ‘This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed spouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces the grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’ “
  12. Series 23 The Gospel of Mark: Chapter 2
  13. A Healing Jesus and Other Uncomfortable Thoughts 
  14. Repentance – Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23
  15. Answering the Call (Mt 4:12-23)
  16. Learning to See with Eyes of Love
  17. Kiln blog: Kingdom of Joy
  18. Miracles – Write 31:Day3
  19. Bible Study Notes from The Gospel of John 2:1-25
  20. Miracles of Jesus
  21. When Healing = Salvation
  22. Fish Dinners and Good Wine – How John Uses Jesus Miracles To Prove Both His Deity And Humanity

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