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

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