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 your heavenly Father will forgive yours. MT6:15 But, if you do not forgive the missteps of others neither will the Father forgive your missteps. MT6:16 But, when you fast do not be gloomy hypocrites with distorted faces to make fasting obvious. I tell you in truth: They are having their full reward! MT6:17 But, oil your head and wash your face. MT6:18 So you will not be obvious to men in your fasting but secretly to your Father.
 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!
 Father will forgive yours: Compare James 2:13: mercy. Colossians 3:13 is a virtual commentary on the Nazarene’s words.
 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).
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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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