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Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:13-23 – The True Disciple

1 The way to destruction and a Narrow gate on the Way leading to Life

MT7:13 “Enter[1] by the Narrow Gate.[2] For the way to destruction is broad and roomy[3] and many are those entering by it.[4] MT7:14 For, narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life[5] and few are those finding it.[6]

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[1] Enter: The person described in the conclusion who ‘hears and does the teachings’ of the Nazarene as found in this sermon, is obviously a true or real disciple. The principles already laid out by the Nazarene may appear daunting to his audience, for it asks each one who will follow to go far beyond the Torah. It asks the would-be disciple to go beyond the letter to the spirit of the Law.

What is expected of the Nazarene disciple? Though this sermon does not dwell on doctrinal points of the Christ, it does allude to or infer several. These are called The Seven Principles and are outlined in the Lord’s Prayer. So, the Friend of the Nazarene would have to accept these primary points. The main thrust of the Mountain Teachings is ‘love your neighbor.’ The Nazarene Saint will have to become a New Person in dealings with neighbors: unselfish selflessness motivated by an interest which seeks the highest good of neighbor will characterize the ‘true disciple’ (For details see the book Nazarene Principles©).

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Serm...

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Sermon on the Mount Deutsch: Altpersische Miniatur mit Jesus (a.) bei der Bergpredigt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Narrow Gate: A gate may lead into a city or a home (Jeremiah 37:13; Acts 12:13, 14). The entrance to the Household of Faith is narrow and restrictive. The gate is the first element to enter such a Household. We might view these teachings of the Nazarene in his Mountain Teachings as part and parcel of this “gate” with its belief system and restrictive requirements, even demands, on that person who would desire ‘to follow the Lamb no matter where he goes.’ (Revelation 14:5) Though possessed of lofty requirements it is really the ideal of the New Person with the Transformed Mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:13, 15, 23, 24). The Nazarene is only asking that you be a decent and well-mannered human being. Even when an agnostic evolutionist is asked about the ideal person, a description of Christ (or that person of Jesus’ sermon) is forthcoming. Note Luke 13:24 and the effort needed to get through the narrow door.’ In Luke the ‘narrow door’ is in response to a question whether only a few are being saved. To this Jesus’ exhorts, ‘Strain every nerve’ (GDSP); or, ‘agonize the agony,’ if the literal Greek is favored. The “gate” seems to be that of the “sheepfold” and not a subject about the salvation of all humanity (John chapter 10).

[3] The way to destruction is broad and roomy: “Destruction” is often associated with Sheol or the grave in the Hebrew Bible (Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). It is that place all persons will enter with the possibility of escaping at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 2:13-15; Job 14:12-15). Those who enter the gate of the sheepfold or household of faith accept the ‘heavenly calling’ (Hebrews 3:1) and are transformed from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:1).

The way to Destruction is “broad and spacious” because it allows for a wide diversity of convictions and beliefs. The Narrow Gate must include the contents of the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings contained in Matthew chapters 5-7.

[4] Many are those entering by it: Paul teaches that “all” descendants of Adam go into Death and that “all” will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, some find “real life” during their lifetimes (1 Timothy 6:19). They are among the “few” in contrast to the billions who lose that opportunity described by Revelation 20:4, 6.

[5] Narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life: Various renderings: KJ: straight is the gate; KNX: how small is the gate; GDSP: the road is hard. The Mountain Teachings demonstrate the narrowness and rigidity of the Nazarene’s requirements for entrance into the Realm of Profession.

[6] Few are those finding it: Perhaps “find” applies to the ultimate attainment of the Kingdom of the Father. Note that Daniel 12:2, with reference to the resurrection of the Saints, “many” are mentioned. Whereas, Paul says “all” with reference to all Adam’s children (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The final tally of the Church will be “few” compared to the totality of those raised at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:5, 13-15).

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Preceding article

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

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

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

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

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love

Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment

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Additional reading

  1. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  2. Obtain favour from Yahweh
  3. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still

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Further reading

  1. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Contrasts
  2. Two Gates
  3. Enter the Narrow Gate
  4. Life’s Narrow and Wide Gates
  5. 8. Doors and Destinations
  6. A Narrow Door…
  7. The Narrow Gate
  8. The Narrow Gate (by Jack Bailey)
  9. Daily Mass: The narrow gate. Catholic Inspiration
  10. The Protestant – Catholic divide – The Narrow and the Wide Gates
  11. Love, Entering the Narrow Gate
  12. The Narrow Way
  13. Religious Theology – The wide gate!
  14. Taking responsibility – the narrow gate that leads to life
  15. Difficult is the Way that Leads to Life
  16. Those Who Find It Are Few.
  17. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  18. against the stream
  19. How to choose between the wide and the narrow
  20. How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 3
  21. Guard My Feet Lord
  22. But Officer, It’s the “Spirit” of the Law
  23. How to be a spirit-of-the-law or hope-based leader
  24. You are a spiritual being: Act like one
  25. From nobodies to somebodies
  26. Day 16 – How much more valuable is a person?
  27. Matthew ch. 15
  28. The Path of Love
  29. footprints and deep mental paths
  30. The Renewed Mind: When the Impossible Seems Logical
  31. The Cost of Discipleship
  32. The Cost of Discipleship (discussion questions)
  33. Be serious, strive hard – January 12, 2017
  34. The Way home Psalm 56:3-4 Luke 13:22-30
  35. Navel-Gazing vs Finding the Real Cause of it All!
  36. Urgency
  37. Turnstile Salvation
  38. Awaken
  39. Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14
  40. The Crumb That Turns Stale With Time

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

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

|| Luke 12:58, 59

MT5:21 “You heard it was said[1] to the Ancients: ‘Murder not’ [Exodus 20:13] but the murderer will be judged.[2] MT5:22 But, I tell you: Anyone angry[3] with his brother will be judged. But, anyone saying ‘Raca!’[4] to his brother will be liable to the Sanhedrin.[5] But, anyone saying ‘Moron!’[6] will be liable to the Gehenna[7] of the Fire. MT5:23 And so, when you bring your gift-offering to the Altar[8] and right then you remember your brother has something against you[9] MT5:24 leave your gift-offering at the Altar. First leave and be reconciled with your brother[10] and then return and offer up your gift. MT5:25 Think well of your adversary,[11] and quickly, while on the way, so your adversary never hand you over to the judge and the judge to the court-officer and he throw you into prison. MT5:26 I tell you the truth: You will not get out until you have repaid the last little coin![12]

Depiction of the Parable of the Unmerciful Ser...

Depiction of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Photograph of stained glass window at Scots’ Church, Melbourne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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[1] It was said: Here begins the first of six rabbinical commentaries by the Nazarene on the spirit of the law, or its fulfillment. James does something similar at James 2:8, 11.

[2] The murderer will be judged: The first of two commentaries on the Ten Commandments. It is interesting the Nazarene makes no comment on the abuse of the Divine Name (YHWH) or the Sabbath (Exodus 20:13; James 1:19; 5:6; 1 John 3:15).

[3] Anyone angry: Various renderings are: WMS: harbors malice; NEB: nurses anger; MOF: maligns. It is anger which is the root of murder. Mere anger makes one liable to judgment though Jesus does not explain what this is. Benjamin Wilson suggests: “The Jews had a Common Court consisting of 23 men.” Later in Matthew 12:36 he warns against speaking the unprofitable, probably about someone else in anger, and how this will not escape the Judgment. Meekness and peaceableness both oppose anger. The Nazarene Saint is on guard against anger which rises out of an egocentric heart.

[4] Raca: NJB: “The Aramaic word raqa, transliterated in Matthew, translated here, means: ‘empty-headed’, ‘nitwit’.” Various renderings are: NJB: fool.

[5] Sanhedrin: Jesus has the Jewish audience in mind and thus Raca! is something worthy of the attention of these judges.

[6] Moron: This is more exact to the Greek word, MORE. Various renderings are: LAM: I spit on you; BER: simpleton; BECK: empty-head; PHI: looks down on his brother as a lost soul; BWD: Apostate; NJB: Traitor!; NJB ftn: “Jewish usage added the much more contemptuous one of ‘apostate’.” Job, Moses, David, Jesus and Paul were all objects of wrathful contempt, often by the very ones professing a relationship with God. It is one thing to be reproached by the Gentile pagans and wholly another to have ‘endured the contradictions of sinners’ among your own fellow worshippers (Hebrews 12:3).

In all the Scriptures the word-group “apostate” occurs most often in the Book of Job as an accusation against that godly man (Job 8:13; 13:16; 17:8; 20:5; 27:8; 34:30; 36:13). In the Christian Bible it occurs as a charge against Paul (Acts 21:21). “Apostate” is a most dangerous word to use as Jesus makes the consequences clear. Jesus never uses it against his foes.

[7] Gehenna: See various lexicons, dictionaries or commentaries on this word. It alludes to the city dump where the dead bodies of criminals were thrown who were judged unworthy of a resurrection. The dump was kept burning night and day and at the edges were to be found worms which seem to never die (See Isaiah 66:24).

The Jewish commentator David Kimhi (1160?-1235?), in his comment on Psalm 27:13, gives the following historical information concerning Gehinnom: “And it is a place in the land adjoining Jerusalem, and it is a loathsome place, and they throw there unclean things and carcasses. Also there was a continual fire there to burn the unclean things and the bones of the carcasses. Hence, the judgment of the wicked ones is called parabolically Gehinnom.”

[8] Altar: The image is one of a Jewish worshipper approaching the Temple and about to hand over his sin-offering or communion gift to the priest serving at the Temple. The worshipper’s purpose is to give a sacrifice for his sin. In the Christian Age there is another “altar,” a spiritual one associated with the New Covenant (Hebrews 13:10, 12, 15, 16). In these verses the inspired writer outlines two aspects to this “altar”: a) praise; and, b) charitable care of the Saints. Using Jesus’ teaching, the Nazarene Saint will keep this in mind before offering ‘a sacrifice of praise’ or ‘sharing’ with others in some charity, to pause and ponder whether there is a fellow Saint who holds a grudge. Better to go and make peace with him or her before approaching this spiritual “altar.”

[9] Against you: Apparently a legitimate charge or accusation of which you are aware. Here the Nazarene shows that peaceful relations come before ceremonial worship. Seeking peace with God through a communion sacrifice is meaningless if relationships with fellows are jeopardized. James writes in a similar vein at James 1:26, 27.

[10] Be reconciled with your brother: Here is the “peaceable” of Matthew 5:9. Various renderings: TCNT: be ready to make friends with; WEY: comes to terms without delay; NEB: if someone sues you come to terms with him promptly.

[11] Adversary: Compare a similar thought at Luke 12:58, 59. Compare Leviticus 19:17 with Colossians 3:13. Various renderings are: KNX: some ground of complaint. Note the singular “you” as if now Jesus’ attention is directed to one individual, singled out in the crowd or among his disciples (who often had personal difficulties), who is not at peace with his fellow. Would not the eye contact of the Nazarene send this worshipper speedily to the door of his brother begging forgiveness?

The context here seems of a material or financial nature for when the worshipper leaves the altar to reconcile with his brother it is over a matter involving a court appearance. It is a financial debt and the Nazarene demonstrates how such matters can take priority over worship. Financial matters are often one of the chief areas of complaint and the cause of disunity among fellow worshippers. Nothing divides persons more than materialism (the god Mammon) with its greed, covetousness, business deceit, or fraud (Compare 1 Corinthians chapter 6; Luke 12:58: disputes; 1 Corinthians 6:7: fraud).

[12] Coin: Compare Luke 12:59: debts. How would one ever get out of prison without borrowing from another or selling some property in order to cancel the debt. From the Altar to Prison in one day! Of course, the other person has much to learn from the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings about canceling debts if one wants God’s forgiveness.

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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

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

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

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Additional reading

  1. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  2. Lent, 40 days, meditation and repentance
  3. Growth in character
  4. Doest thou well to be Angry?
  5. A man who cannot forgive others
  6. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  7. Forgiveness always possible
  8. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  9. Love is like playing the piano

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Further reading

  1. 2:2-5
  2. What’s in Your Heart?
  3. “The False and Confused Language of Our Hearts”
  4. A Study of the Sermon on the Mount
  5. The Beatitudes and being human
  6. The Beatitudes in the Law of Moses
  7. Denounced by his brothers, Pakistani Jew says he’s being thrown to an ‘apostate lynch mob’
  8. Egypt’s Al-Azhar university replaces head in apostasy row
  9. Reaching Muslims in Love
  10. Heretics
  11. “No In Between: The Sifting of Our Souls” (Matthew 3:12 sermon)
  12. “If an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him..” ~~Jesus
  13. Matthew 5:21-37 – First be reconciled to your brother or sister
  14. Word Study: Stumble, fall away, to be offended
  15. Summing Up the Sermon: The Greatest Sermon Ever {Part 1}
  16. Summing Up the Sermon: The Greatest Sermon Ever {Part 2}
  17. Thou Shalt Not Kill
  18. Video Games, Anger & Murder
  19. Anger and Insults
  20. Judgment, Rumors & War
  21. ‘Blessed are the Lawyers?’
  22. Jesus Longs for His People (Matthew 23:37-39)
  23. Hell and the Destruction of Souls
  24. Is Hell Real?
  25. Did Jesus ever actually say, “If you don’t believe in me you will go to hell”?
  26. Angry or Just Plain Mad
  27. What is Mercy…Really?
  28. Make me a channel of your Peace
  29. Editor’s Pick: The verdict is in! “Sorry” is the hardest word…
  30. What It Really Means To Behave Like A Christian
  31. Kindness
  32. Breathe In, Breathe Out, Forgive.
  33. Facing Forgiveness (Part I)What Happens When Mistakes Aren’t Forgiven? (1 min read)“Live generously.” ~~Jesus
    loved, forgiven, set free, and – yes – practitioners of holiness…

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