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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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Man enticed to long for more

From the onset of times the human beings showed the want for more. The woman was enticed by what God asked her not to touch.

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the first man and mannin the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the middle of the Garden of Eden, looked so attractive because they knew it could give something they had  not yet. They too wanted to have knowledge of good and evil like their Creator had. They longed for having as much knowledge and power as their Divine Maker had. This is their greed, because they had everything what a man needs. Everything was provide for by the Most Highest.

Though the thoughts of the man and mannin, Adam and Eve, was preoccupied with gain. They thought it could well be that God hold something hidden for them, which they too could use. As such they did not trust God and showed how they wanted to come on the same level as Him and that they wanted ore than He had given them.

The giving in to the temptation (the nachash) was bringing them to mutiny, revolting against their Divine Maker.

It is that revolt against the Divine Creator that still bothers mankind today. Today also the preoccupation with material things rather than intellectual or spiritual things brings people further away from God. Having received the knowledge of good and evil each individual should know what is good and what is bad. People who have come to the Christian faith for sure should know that when they are preoccupied with material things, that would be definitely wrong.

We do not say that you as a Christian may not have your own house, a car, a television or hifi set. There is no objection against having material things, but the obsession with acquiring and caring for “stuff” is a dangerous thing for the Christian.

Already in the Garden of Eden God gave a signal that He wants an intense connection with man. Man’s thought should go in the first instance to its Maker. After man got expelled from the Garden of Eden God insisted still to have a pure connection with Him, not giving more attention to material objects or subjects, not having idols placed in a higher ranking than the God above all gods.

Man has to be careful how he treats others and how he gives attention and obligation or glorification to others. Any preoccupation, obsession or fascination with anything other than God, man should know, is something what displeases God. He wants us to love us above all persons and above all things. It is with all our heart that we should give honour to the Most High.

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

Jesus called that love for God the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). All our passion and prayer and intelligence should go in the first instance to Jehovah God.  When we do that we shall be able to find life.

“”You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”” (Luke 10:28 NIV)

therefore we should be very careful and attentive into what we put our energy and for what we want to strive. It is what is deep in our heart that God knows. He knows what we rally want and wherefore we long.  In our heart should be the choice for God and not for material things.

The Elohim, Jehovah God should be our focus. Our eyes should be directed on Him.  He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love and service. To offer these things to anything, or anyone, else is idolatry.

We should recognise that when we are wanting for other things than those which are important in the Eyes of God, than we fall for the weakness of man.

The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are...

The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are thrust into a bleak Antediluvian world. Thomas Cole, 1828 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is true, man is caught up in the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things that have entered this world and choke it. But we should know that the material gain the world wants us to believe would make us happy, is just an empty soap bell.

“but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19 NIV)

We should not be fashioned according to this world, but should listen to the words of the sent ones from God, like to Jesus Christ, and follow the examples of them, living in humility and simplicity, always following not our will but the Will of God.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

We must come to see that the word of material wealth proves unfruitful. We are cheating ourselves by thinking that we will be happy or more fulfilled or content if only we had more of whatever it is we are chasing. This is a lie from the father of lies, satan, which every adversary of God still wants us to believe today that we better not believe in God and try to earn as much money as possible in every way we can. Many are using bad ways to gain capital and do not mind what others may think of it or worse what God might think of it. Though for sure God shall take it into account. One day there shall be a moment of judgement for man. Then it will be time to justify for the actions that one has taken.

Those adversaries of God wants us to be chasing after something they know will never satisfy us so we will be kept from pursuing that which is the only thing that can satisfy — God Himself.

Many are blinded by those satans and do not come to see that the financial gain or the material wealth is the mammon, the killer of mankind.

All should know that one cannot serve both God and money.

“”No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”” (Luke 16:13 NIV)

When we put our eyes on that material gain we shall be deceived and disgusted to continually feeling dissatisfied, never feeling contented. We must seek to be content with what we have, and materialism is the exact opposite of that contentment. It causes us to strive for more and more and more, all the while telling us that this will be the answer to all our needs and dreams.

The infallible Word of God sheds light on how human beings best live and unto what they best give attention in their life. That life does not get its satisfaction in the abundance of the things which a person can come to possess.

“Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

Man’s eyes should be focused on that what is much more important in life than the treasures of this world: the Kingdom of God.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Long before the master teacher Jeshua was born there was a man who had enough material wealth as one of the richest kings of the world. King Solomon had no shortage of anything and had absolutely everything what he desired. Though he also came aware that was not really what brought him happiness.  He declared,

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV)

Be aware that whoever loves wealth shall never be satisfied with his income. Perhaps it can take a long time before we come to such awareness. In the end, Solomon came to the conclusion that there is one greater thing we do have to bear in mind.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV)

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Preceding articles

Building up the spirit of the soul

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

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Additional reading

  1. God above all gods
  2. An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things
  3. Bereshith 2 Man and Woman placed in a Royal Garden
  4. Orders for the first human beings and Rebellion against their Maker
  5. The figure of Eve
  6. Moment of getting knowledge and its consequence
  7. Scattered, broken, thwarted reflection of God
  8. Sources of evil
  9. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #4 The Fall
  10. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  11. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #6 Curse and solution
  12. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  13. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  14. Faith and trial
  15. No good thing will he withhold

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Further reading

    1. Living
    2. Need and Want
    3. Livable Wages
    4. Greed
    5. Vanity and Greed
    6. Thingamabobs? I Got Twenty… I Want More!
    7. The Price Of Keep Wanting More.
    8. Greed for money
    9. An irrational reward system
    10. Our Entire Economy Is Based On A Massive LIE That Is Killing People
    11. Greed is God: How economics became a religion
    12. How much is enough?
    13. Too Much Stuff (Part 2)
    14. Enough by John C. Bogle
    15. They Deceived Him
    16. A Holy Judgement 
    17. When Does It All End?
    18. That there are people who are convinced they can give more to their family and should not bother about it proves Jack Bennett with his text: No Shame In Wanting More
    19. But that there are some things we can do without and some things we cannot do without, such as a clean conscience and a useful life, may give to ponder you the text:Quotes of Note #9 On Money & Wealth
    20. The power of greed’: Greed is one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins, and it predates capitalism. In our society, who is greedier – the consumer or the capitalist? Are there any positive aspects to greed?
    21. The Price is Wrong: No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mat 6:24, ESV)
    22. Rich Toward God While they may not be mutually exclusive, if we are honest with ourselves, they frequently are in competition. Pursuing possessions on earth often has a way of cutting into laying up treasures in heaven.
    23. Avoiding covetous distractions
    24. Quick Thought – Monday, July 17, 2017
    25. Jesus Was Out
    26. Four things that kill the fire of God 
    27. Stop The Greed
    28. Starve the beast
    29. Self-discipline: How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy
    30. The Rich Man and Lazarus
    31. Generosity by Johannes Brahms
    32. 2 Kings Chapter 15
    33. No Other Gods
    34. Idols In The Temple, Part One
    35. Why Is God Jealous?
    36. 3 Kinds of Idolatry
    37. Patriotism — self-examination losing out to self-infatuation? “Patriotism is the go-to religion of those who would worship a super-sized version of themselves and seldom quibble to persecute non-believers, foreigners and conscientious objectors. It is a grandiose
    38. Depravity may lie in two extremes
    39. Conversion
    40. Whose God is it anyway?
    41. Modern Romans
    42. Why Make Idols?
    43. Evangelicalism’s Golden Calf
    44. Shabbat Balak: the Holy and the Idolatrous
    45. Weekly Torah Commentary – Mattot-Maasei July 21, 2017
    46. The Problem of American Worship
    47. Whom are you serving?
    48. Verse of the month: July 2017

    +++

  1. Related articles

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…

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

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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 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Chapter Four:
Three tests and Kingdom preaching

Matthew 4:1-4 – A Wilderness Temptation: ‘If you are a son’

|| Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-4

MT4:1 Then Jesus was led[1] up into the wilderness by the Pneuma to be tempted[2] by the Devil.[3] MT4:2 After fasting for forty days[4] and forty nights he felt hungry.[5] MT4:3 And the Tempter approached Jesus and said to him, “If you are a son[6] of The God tell these stones[7] to become loaves of bread.”[8] MT4:4 But, Jesus replied and said to the Devil: “It has been written[9] [by Moses]: ‘Not on bread alone will humans live, but upon every utterance[10] coming forth through God’s Mouth.’” [Deuteronomy 8:3]

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Temptation of Jesus in desert. HOLE, WILLIAM: ...

Temptation of Jesus in desert. Hole, William: The Life of Jesus of Nazareth. Eighty Pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sent one from God after he was baptised went into the desert to meditate. Being alone with his thoughts did not liberate him from bad thoughts coming up in his mind. Jesus was allowed into the wilderness to be tested, like all of us are allowed to be tested and to prove ourselves.

God has given mankind the freedom to think and to take decisions for him self. God is no dictator Who prohibits man to think and to decide for himself. Though we should know that already from the beginning of times man has shown to have a sort of weaknesses, doubting those who are higher placed than they. The first human beings rebelled against the Most High Maker. They took adversary against God. The adversary of God or satan is in each of us and Jesus as a man of flesh and blood had this also in him.

Satan or the the ‘tempter’ brings man to question the relationship with God. He also caught Jesus to be a prey. A young man starting his public life and having to prove himself for the community. Fasting, having hunger, knowing we need our daily bread, the tempter tried to seduce Jesus with the offer of ‘bread’.

We may not forget what is the cause of the temptation  of man, they wondering if God had the right to be their ‘dominant’ or their ‘Father‘. Many do forget that is the whole key to the fall of man. Man not willing to accept God as their Father, Who may tell them what to do.

Satan wants us to believe that we’re not children of God. When the adversary of God tours around us, in our mind, temptation will come in the form to make use doubt the position of the Most High God. Man gets blinded by his own thoughts which try to mislead him.The adverser will use our relationship with God as a weapon against us. He also wants us to believe we do not need God, but that we are able to live on the material of the earth, like bread, and that those goods will keep us alive.

From this chapter we also can see that baptism is no liberator of temptation. When we are baptised it does not mean that we would not any more be tempted or would not sin any more. Be not mistaken, the adversary of God is always there to get us away from God. Even when we are sometimes doubting he will be more at work.

English: Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness

Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the moments we take time to think about everything and to be just on our own, meditating, are the most dangerous moments to become tempted, doubting ourselves, our own ‘I am‘ and the Most High ‘I Am’ the ‘I Am that I Am‘ or the ‘I Am Who is‘.

Too many people do forget that Jesus could be and was tempted many times. God cannot be tempted, but Jesus as an ordinary man (though specially made by God) was like any man able to sin, but never did sin. Jesus never went against the wishes of God. He could put his own will aside for doing the Will of God.

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[1] Was led: Mark 1:12 says the Spirit “drove” so that Jesus became “driven” into the desert.

[2] Tempted: God cannot be “tempted” (James 1:13,) though Jesus is here, three times.

[3] Devil: The Greek is DIABOLOS. Meaning “Slanderer,” or “Liar,” this name for Satan occurs 36 times, never in the Hebrew Bible and first here. Note that the Dragon is on hand when the “woman gives birth” to a spiritual Son (Revelation 12:4).

[4] Forty days: An experience shared by only two others: Moses and Elijah (Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8).

[5] Hungry: Jesus becomes hungry several times in the Gospel accounts (Matthew 21:18; Mark 11:12). May it be assumed that God cannot become hungry?

[6] If you are a son: Two things are noticed here: the word “if” is an attempt to create doubt; and, the Devil calls Jesus “a son” knowing full well he is “the Son.”

[7] Stones: These have already been mentioned when John spoke of God’s ability to make sons of Abraham from stones (Matthew 3:9).

[8] Bread: Self-denial was the law of our Lord’s mission (Philippians 2:6-8).

[9] Written: The first Bible verse quoted by Jesus (Deuteronomy 8:3).

[10] Utterance: The Greek is RHEMATI. Or, KJV: word; RHM: declaration; KNX: words.

 

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Preceding articles

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:21-23 – The Baptism of Christ

2015 the year of ISIS

Next:

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

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

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Additional reading

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  3. What we do
  4. The I Am to explore
  5. Just One More Minute
  6. satan or devil
  7. Satan the evil within
  8. The Son can do nothing of his own accord
  9. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God
  10. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil

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Further reading

  1. Jesus is tested – In the wilderness
  2. Temptation in the Desert
  3. The Temptation of Jesus
  4. Dealing With Temptation
  5. But Deliver Us from the Evil One
  6. Watch Over Us
  7. Does God Love Satan? (1 of 2)
  8. The Devil Made Me Do it…
  9. Getting Testy
  10. When we stumble
  11. Love Came Down in Obedience/L’amour est descendu dans l’obéissance
  12. 40 days
  13. 40 days and 40 nights
  14. SMS 144 Matthew 4:2-3
  15. Stones Into Bread
  16. My Life As An Itchy Man
  17. The Camera

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A look at materialism

In our Belgian ecclesiae this fortnight we take a look at that what keeps so many busy these times. After the financial crisis it may look as if many people are not any-more so interested to get capital gain, but be not fooled, they still aim to enrich themselves, but much more with material things they can hold onto or dispose when not any more of use or not any more in fashion.

Lots of people are interested to get the most recent new gadgets. That this pursuit of pleasure can crowd out godly devotion we clearly can see in the many church denominations which all lost church members. Most people are not any more interested in God and His commands.

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter

A typical narrow street in the Christian quarter in Tyre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a world where many have fallen victim to greed and selfishness. Because of the prevailing commercial climate, much emphasis is placed on wealth. Hence, a Christian does well to examine himself to be sure that he is not falling into the same trap that ensnared the commercial city of Tyre. Does he spend so much of his time and energy in material pursuits that he is, in fact, a slave of riches? (Matthew 6:24) Is he envious of some who may have more or better possessions than he has? (Galatians 5:26) If he happens to be wealthy, does he proudly feel that he deserves more attention or privileges than others do? (Compare James 2:1-9.) If he is not rich, is he “determined to be rich,” whatever the cost? (1 Timothy 6:9) Is he so occupied with business matters that he leaves only a very small corner in his life for serving God? (2 Timothy 2:4) Does he become so consumed with the pursuit of wealth that he ignores Christian principles in his business practices?—1 Timothy 6:10.

Could it be that we need to make immediate adjustments in this regard? Granted, some benefits are derived from bodily training and recreation. Yet, such rewards are small compared with everlasting life. (1 John 2:25)
Today, many are “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power,” and we need to turn away from such individuals. (2 Timothy 3:4, 5)

3 But know this, that in the last days+ critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power;+ and from these turn away. From among these arise men who slyly work their way into households and captivate weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-4, 5-7)

Those who place emphasis on godly devotion are

“safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:19.

On From Guestwriters there are several articles placed which show how Materialism is a snare to many.

We may deceive even ourselves, “thinking that godly devotion is a means of [material] gain.” Thus, we could be emboldened to take improper advantage of the trust shown by fellow believers. (1 Timothy 6:5) We might even wrongly conclude that it is all right to press a prosperous Christian for a loan that we are unlikely to be able to repay. (Psalm 37:21) But it is godly devotion, not the acquisition of material things, that “holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Since ‘we brought nothing into the world and cannot carry anything out,’ let us more intently pursue “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” and allow ourselves to be ‘content with sustenance and covering.’1 Timothy 6:6-11.

A lifetime of hard work in the pursuit of a secular career or material prosperity will not necessarily mean that one will “see good” if it is done to the exclusion of spiritual things. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority it well can be we will miss the boat. Only seeing those things others have and wanting to have them oneself, might pull us in a black hole. The envy man has, brings him into the darkness of the world and blinds him to see the real true light.

Jesus described the consequences of misdirected effort in his illustration of the sower. Regarding the seed “sown among the thorns,” Jesus explained that “this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) Paul also warned of the same trap and added that those who pursue a materialistic course “fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” What is the antidote for such a spiritually ruinous way of life?

constant disputes about minor matters by men who are corrupted in mind+ and deprived of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.+ To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion+ along with contentment.* For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out.+ So, having food* and clothing,* we will be content with these things.+

But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare+ and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+

11 However, you, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness.+ 12 Fight the fine fight of the faith; get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:5-6-11-12)

17 Instruct* those who are rich in the present system of things* not to be arrogant,* and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches,+ but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy.+ 18 Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous,* ready to share,+ 19 safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future,+ so that they may get a firm hold on the real life.+ (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavati...

Remains of ancient columns at Al Mina excavation site – supposed palaestra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Please do find to read:

  1. Luxury
  2. Summermonths and consumerism
  3. The business of this life
  4. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  5. London an exaggerated microcosm of the UK at large
  6. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #6 Transport factor of immobilising financial growth
  7. Democratic downfall
  8. The Existence of Evil
  9. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  10. Being ‘broke’ a state of mind
  11. Less for more
  12. Less… is still enough
  13. Gender connections
  14. Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft
  15. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  16. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  17. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  18. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  19. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  20. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  21. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  22. Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others
  23. Hoarding Relationships and Things
  24. Forward ever backwards never!
  25. 30 things to start doing for yourself – #6 is vital.
  26. Watch out
  27. Stop and Think
  28. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  29. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  31. A bird’s eye and reflecting from within
  32. We all have to have dreams
  33. Material gain to honour God
  34. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  35. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  36. Bearing fruit
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  38. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  39. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone

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