Search word: Retrieve verses, illustrations, etc
Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament.
and Early Years
Leading up to the Sermon on the
Sermon on the Mount
Overview: Matthew 1-4
What is our main
for the Sermon on the Mount
What is so
critical about context?
Scriptures in context is the best way to arrive at the correct
(only one is correct).
Accurate interpretation is mandatory for valid
(can have many)
What are the main
divisions of Mt 1?
Mt 1:1-17 Genealogy of Jesus Christ
Mt 1:18-25 Birth of Jesus Christ
What is unique
about Matthew's genealogy?
5 women are mentioned, 2 of whom are
harlots (Tamar, Rahab), one an adulteress (wife of Uriah = Bathsheba), 3
are Gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth the Moabitess)
In light of these truths...
What one word
could describe the first 17 verses?
Scripture elevates women to a
stature equal with men. Scripture places undeserving sinners, women and
Gentiles in the line of Jewish Messiah! That is manifold unmerited favor!
What sin are you carrying around
like a heavy burden? Is God able to lift it?
features are unique about Matthew's genealogy? (cf Lu 3:23-38)
3 sets of 14 generations.
Significance ? but Matthew a tax collector likes numbers in this gospel
Luke gives a completely different
genealogy (cf Luke 3:23-38). Matthew (whose purpose is to present Christ
as King) documents the kingly or royal line (through male heirs)
and thus gives Joseph's lineage beginning with Abraham, the father of the
Jews and "ascending" from there to Jesus Christ.
Luke presents the genealogy through
Mary's line (see note) documenting Jesus' (last Adam 1Co 15:45)
physical line beginning with Jesus and "descending" to "Adam, the son
of God" (Lu 3:38). (Click
for more discussion)
How does Matthew begin the list?
Son of David
Son of Abraham
He is especially addressing the
Jewish reader. The Jews considered Abraham their "father" and
David as their greatest king both of whom the Messiah was prophesied
to come from. (cf David = 2 Sa 7:13-14, Abraham = Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18,
Jesus = Hebrew Yeshu'a
(Joshua) = Jehovah is Help or Yahweh is salvation.
Christ (Gk Christos) = Messiah (Heb Mashiach) = "Anointed
One" (cf Da 9:25-26)
Why would Matthew
begin with a genealogy?
One could consult the genealogical
records that had been preserved and were present in the Temple.
What happened to
those records in 70AD when Titus the Roman general destroyed the Temple?
And why would this fact be significant?
They were lost forever. Jesus Christ
was the culmination and they were no longer needed. Note that no Jewish
leader disputed His lineage, only His message!
What is emphasized
Virgin: noted three times
Mt 1:18 "before they came together"
Mt 1:23 "virgin" ( = Isa 7:14)
Mt 1:25 "kept her a virgin" (knew her not)
(See note on "virgin")
Mary though a virgin would bear a
Son conceived by the Holy Spirit
Why did Joseph a
righteous man desire to put her away secretly (divorce her)?
She was pregnant. Jewish marriage
consisted of 3 stages: engagement (usually done by parents, not
binding), betrothal (binding as marriage albeit not yet physically
consummated), formal wedding ceremony. Betrothal could only be
broken by divorce.
What do we learn
about Joseph that shows him to be "a righteous man"?
He obeyed without argument or
questioning the angel of the Lord's instruction (took her as his wife,
kept her a virgin, named Him Jesus)
What does Matthew
appeal to repeatedly to validate his record of Jesus Christ (birth, early
life and ministry)?
Old Testament Scriptures
Messianic Prophecy (see notes on
Note that in the NAS translation one
can easily discern an OT quotation in the NT because these quotes are in
Mt 1:21, 23 What is
the significance of His names?
Name speaks of character in
Jesus = His purpose to save His people (Israel) from
Immanuel = God with us
Take a moment to bow down and
Play: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel;
Immanuel, We Sing Thy Praise;
He Shall Be Called
What are the 4
geographic locations in this drama?
1) Jerusalem - Mt 2:1,
2) Bethlehem - Mt 2:1, 2:5-6, 2:8, 16
3) Egypt - Mt 2:13-15, 19
4) Nazareth - Mt 2:23 (cf 4:13)
Who are the 4
groups of "actors" in Jerusalem and what are their "re-actions" to Messiah
1) Magi: from east,
seek to worship He Who is born "King of the Jews" Mt 2:1-2
A "kingdom" - keep that
thought in mind in Mt 3:2, 4:17, 23, 5:3, 10, 19, 20, 6:10, 6:13, 6:33,
before + kuneo = kiss) to kiss toward, throw kisses as one bows to their
knees sometimes in the Orient touching their forehead to the ground
(Mt 2:3), deceptive (liar) (Mt 2:7-8), murderer (Mt 2:16-18)
3) All Jerusalem:
troubled (Mt 2:3)
4) Chief priests
& scribes: knowledge without action (indifferent)
What did the chief
priests and scribes clearly understand?
OT prophecy in Micah
5:2 of Messiah's specific place of birth
At this time
extra-biblical sources report that (1) there were as many as 60 men
purporting to be the Messiah and (2) there was a general feeling that the
Messiah would arrive. And yet the priests and scribes were indifferent!
(cf Luke 3:15 realizing that this was some 30 years later)
How does the
(Gentile) Magi's attitude toward Messiah contrast with (Jewish) priests
Rejoiced to see His
star (Mt 2:10),
Fell down and worshiped Him (Mt 2:11),
Presented Him gifts
Note order: See Him,
fall down, worship, then present gifts - He wants us to
present ourselves to Him (cf 2 Cor 8:5, Ro 12:1) before we present our
gifts and service to Him. Are you serving and yet not worshiping beloved?
When Wise Men Came Seeking
When wise men came seeking for
Jesus from far,
With rich gifts to greet Him and led by a star,
They found in a stable the Savior of men,
A manger His cradle, so poor was He then.
Though laid in a manger, He came from a throne,
On earth though a stranger, in Heaven He was known.
How lowly, how gracious His coming to earth!
His love my love kindles to joy in His birth. (R. Slater,
What 4 Messianic
prophecies are fulfilled in Mt 2?
Birth place -
Mt 2:6 = Mic 5:2
Callout of Egypt -
Mt 2:15 = Ho 11:1
Herod's attempt to kill -
Mt 2:18 = Jer 31:15
Home in Nazareth - called a
Mt 2:23, no single prophet
What are the main
divisions in Matthew 3?
Mt 3:1-12: John
("Gift of Jehovah") the Baptist's ministry
Jesus' Baptism (cf. Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, 22; John 1:32-34)
Note that some 30
years elapsed (Luke 3:1 gives time) between the return of Jesus, Joseph
and Mary from Egypt to Nazareth (cf Mt 2:23 and 3:1. Only Lu 2:39-52 gives any
information on these years)
Who had foretold of John's
Isaiah the prophet
Mt 3:3 = Isaiah 40:3
What was John's
Cry out in the
wilderness and make ready the way of the Lord, make His (Messiah) paths
straight (cf Mal 3:1)
How did John
prepare the way for Messiah?
imperative) John was calling
the Jewish audience to have a radical change of thinking. It does not mean
as many English dictionaries define it simply to "be sorry about" or "to
regret". (See excellent Scriptural picture of repent in
Stop for a moment and
try to picture the scene of this strangely dressed man all of a sudden
appearing and "making a public proclamation with that formality, gravity,
and authority which must be listened to and obeyed, in the uninhabited
region of Judaea" (not in Jerusalem where all the religious people
Keep the historical
context in mind. Israel had not heard from God for 400 years - now
after 4 centuries of silence they hear God's prophetic word through John
and of all places in the barren region of the Judean desert! One had to
want to hear a word from God to come to this desolate pulpit! And what a
message it was! (cf Elijah 1 Ki 18:21)
Play: Repent the Kingdom Draweth Nigh
Mt 3:8 How can one
recognize repentance as genuine?
Fruit (cf Mt
7:16-20, 23, 24) A change of mind should be accompanied by a change of conduct
(fruit as manifest in one's thoughts, words and deeds!) (See
word study on fruit = Greek word karpos)
What did John give
as positive motivation to encourage the Jews to manifest a radical change
The Kingdom of
Heaven was at hand = had come near and was imminent! (remember
John's purpose was to prepare the way for the King cf Isa 40:3)
Messiah the King was about to step onto the stage of history! So as the Amplified Version
"think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing
"Kingdom of heaven"
is used 32 times (31 verses) (click
uses) and only by
Mt 3:5-6 What else
was John doing besides preaching?
Baptizing in the
Jordan River those who had confessed their sins. (See
Mt 3:7-12 How did John's message
change when "he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for
note on "vipers")? How would you sum it up in these verses?
"Turn or burn"
Repent or experience
Bring forth fruit in
keeping with repentance - Mt 3:8
Have a change of
thinking (repent) and stop thinking that
because as a Jew one could claim
Abraham as physical father assured escape from the wrath to come - Mt 3:9
"Change your thinking"
This was John's clear call and do it now because the Kingdom (and
is near. Otherwise you will experience the alternative, the fire of judgment and God's
judgment in several ways:
to come (Mt 3:7)
2) Axe at the root of the trees - trees that do not bear good fruit
will be "cut down and thrown into the fire" (Mt 3:10),
"with...fire" (Mt 3:11)
4) Burning "up the chaff with
unquenchable fire" (Mt 3:12)
What did Jesus request
of John the Baptist?
To baptize him
What was John's
What was Jesus' rationale?
To fulfill all
righteousness - interpretation is debated but at least part of the answer
seems to be that He might fully identify with those He came to rescue.
What happened at Jesus'
Spirit of God descended
on Him as a dove
His Father spoke from heaven "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased"
What do you learn about
God in these verses? What doctrine is portrayed?
God was pleased that Jesus had
fulfilled all righteousness
What are the main
divisions in Matthew 4?
Mt 4:1-11: Temptation of
Mt 4:12-17 Jesus' Ministry
Mt 4:18-22 Jesus Calls His
Mt 4:23-25 Jesus in
Teaching, Preaching, Healing
(Mk 1:12-13, Lu 4:1-13)
What are the
circumstances leading to Jesus' temptation?
"Then" = follows His baptism and His Father's praise
Spirit led Him (cf "full of the Spirit" Lu 4:1, 14, 18,
Mk 1:12 adds that "immediately the Spirit impelled [ekballo = threw out,
jettisoned] Him out into the wilderness")
To be tempted (cf Heb 2:18, 4:15-16, 5:2, 5:7-9)
What are the names
of the Jesus' opponent?
Mt 4:1, 5, 8, 11 Devil
Diabolos (dia = between + ballo = throw) his name = his purpose = "to
throw between" = cause division
Mt 4:3 Tempter (only in 1Th
3:5, cf same verb used in Mt 16:1, 19:3, 22:18, 22:35, note who "tests"
Him; pictured in Ge 3:1, 4-5)
Mt 4:10 Satan (false accuser
Zec 3:1, adversary, cf Job 1:6-12, 2:1-8, 2Sa 24:1 = 1Chr 21:1, Luke
22:31, 1Pe 5:8-9, Rev 12:9-10)
How does Jesus
counter the Devil's 3 temptations?
With the Word of God
(cf "the sword of the Spirit" Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12-13)
Mt 4:4 = Dt 8:3
Mt 4:7 = Dt 6:16
Mt 4:10 = Dt 6:13
does Jesus begin His ministry and why?
because He heard John had been taken into custody (This marks Jesus'
official beginning of His public ministry) (cf, "Jesus returned to Galilee
in the power of the Spirit" Lu 4:14)
then left (Lu
4:16-30 explains why He left)
Jesus went and settled in
significant about His travels?
Isaiah 9:1-2 - Land of Zebulun & Naphtali =
Galilee of the Gentiles
(so named because Galilee lay on the route thru which all Gentiles
passed in and out of Israel)
Note providential outworking of God
- John in prison leads to Jesus moving into Galilee to fulfill prophecy.
Once again Matthew is appealing to the Jews who should have known the OT
How were the
people described (Mt 4:16)?
Sitting in darkness - saw a great
Shadow of death - a light dawned
Jesus = the "Great Light" (cf Jn
1:9, 8:12, 12:46)
How did He shine
His light (Mt 4:17)?
Preached - Repent, for the Kingdom of
heaven is at hand. (cf Mark 1:15 "The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.") (His Light
was also seen in Mt 4:23 in His teaching, preaching and healing)
Who is proclaiming
this message about the Kingdom of Heaven? (cf Mt 2:2)
The "King of the Jews"!
Who does Jesus
call and what is their response?
Peter, Andrew, James and John - all
Immediately left... followed (Mt
What does the
picture of "left...followed Him" define?
What did they
leave? What did it
Their livelihood (nets, boat, father
~ relatives) (Note)
What was Jesus
doing throughout all
Preaching the gospel of the
Kingdom (cf Mk 1:15)
Note: This "good news" is most likely not the same as the
"gospel" of His death for our sins, burial and resurrection (cf 1Cor
15:1-5) because this was the beginning of His ministry. The good news
for His audience of Matthew 4 would have been that the kingdom (King) had
come into their midst.
Healing every kind of disease
Note: Jesus' message and miracles
set Him distinctly apart from the many false "Messiahs" that according to
extra-biblical sources had arisen at that time
Large crowds followed
the crowds from?
Jerusalem, Judea, beyond (east of) the Jordan
the nifty simple Bible Verse tool
will make it easy to read every cross reference in this study quickly, in
context and in the Version you prefer (Note: Only KJV is free)
Sermon on the Mount
Overview: Matthew 5-7
Where is Jesus?
What is He doing? Who is present?
On the mountain
Sitting down- when Rabbis sat down it indicated that what they were going to
say was official
Disciples are present
Great multitudes (large crowds) (cf Mt 4:25, 5:1, 7:28, 8:1)
What is the first
major division of Matthew 5? What is repeated?
Mt 5:3-12 Blessed...nine
What happens to the
"blessed" in Mt 5:10-12?
Persecution (not a popular topic to
preach from the pulpit!)
relationship might this treatment have to what Jesus has just taught?
For the sake of righteousness (those
qualities demonstrated in Mt 5:3-9)
What does "righteousness"
mean (in simple terms)?
= is what is right
The world knows another type of
= that which is right
before men. Watch Jesus contrast these two types of
in His teaching that follows
is can also be defined as
Right character (inner) before God and
conduct (external motivated by inner) before men.
is what is right
according to God's standards (His Word, His character)
is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands,
all that He
approves, all that He provides (through Christ).
How does Jesus
describe the blessed
in Mt 5:13-16?
Salt - adds flavor, preserves,
Light - shines, shows the way in darkness, etc
What is the
relationship to the previous verses Mt 5:3-12?
These word pictures (metaphors)
describes the calling (the purpose) of those who are the "blessed"
What is the main
subject of the next division Mt 5:17-20? (Clue: How does Jesus begin?)
The Law and the Prophets = Old
Testament (OT) (another synonym for the OT is the word "Scriptures", eg
What does Jesus say
about His relationship to the Law and the authority of the Law?
He fulfills the Law and the Prophets
Law will not pass away until all is accomplished
What happens to
those who annul or do away with the commands Mt 5:19?
Least in the Kingdom of Heaven
Who might Jesus have
been speaking to with this warning?
Jesus was alluding to the scribes and
What is the
righteousness Jesus says one needs in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven?
Greater than the Scribes and Pharisees
Scribes = writers learned in
the Mosaic law and in sacred writings
Pharisees = the religious
leaders who originated during the 400 years of silence (inter-testament
period between the Old and New Testaments) who held strictly to the Law and added many commandments and
traditions to God's Law. (see
This is the key verse
of the Sermon on the Mount which describes the righteous lifestyle of those
who enter the Kingdom of Heaven
What did you learn
about the Kingdom of Heaven in Mt 5-7?
Those who enter the kingdom of
1) Mt 5:3: Are poor in Spirit
2) Mt 5:10: Are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
3) Mt 5:20: Have a righteousness that far surpasses that of the
scribes and Pharisees
4) Mt 6:10 Pray for His kingdom to come
5) Mt 6:33 Seek His kingdom and righteousness
6) Mt 7:21: Obey God's will.
In sum: Righteousness is an
absolute necessity for those who are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
What does this
statement imply about those who are truly part of the Kingdom of Heaven? How
does this relate to the church today?
They are not necessarily the "super"
What is the pattern
Jesus uses in the last major section of Mt 5:21-48?
"You have heard..."
"But I say..."
What had they heard?
(as taught to them by their religious leaders, especially the scribes and
Pharisees - note that the average Jew did not own a personal copy of
the Law and was dependent on the teaching of the religious leaders)
Why does Jesus make
the contrasting declaration "but I say"? Is He adding a new "stroke" to the
Law? Is He annulling the Law and teaching His disciples and the multitudes
to do the same?
Clearly He is not adding to, changing
or annulling the Law = He specifically addressed those issues in (Mt
Jesus took the Law to it's deeper
meaning, explaining the heart of the Law.
What kind of
righteousness does Jesus proceed to explain in this section (Mt 5:21-48)?
True righteousness - a righteousness
demanded by the Father
A new way of thinking about
righteousness ("you have heard" ... "but I say")
What is another way
to describe a "new way of thinking"?
What did John (Mt
3:2) and Jesus (Mt 4:17) preach was necessary to enter the
Kingdom of heaven?
a change the way you are
So what does Jesus
seek to do to show them regarding their thinking?
Change the way they think about
righteousness - not external righteousness they had been taught by
their Scribes and Pharisees but internal righteousness as He explains - then
you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven
What are the basic
Laws that they had heard taught, that Jesus now takes to a deeper level
("but I say")?
Mt 5:21-26 Murder
Mt 5:27-30 Adultery
Mt 5:31-32 Divorce
Mt 5:33-37 False vows
Mt 5:38-42 Eye for an eye
Mt 5:43-47 Love your enemy
standard does God call His audience (and each of us) to in Mt 5:48?
To be Perfect like His Father
How does Mt 5:48
relate to Mt 5:20?
The greater righteousness that Jesus
called His audience to in Mt 5:20 is ultimately the righteousness of His
What is the key verse that helps
unlock Matthew 6:1-18?
M 6:1 is the key verse - Jesus'
warns his audience to beware of practicing their righteousness before men to be noticed
Matthew 6:1-18 then practical
righteousness contrasting it with genuine righteousness
Matthew 5:21-48 is about perverted
What are the general
categories of practical
righteousness which Jesus
addresses? What word introduces them?
When...Mt 6:2, 5, 7
Whenever... Mt 6:16
Mt 6:2-4: Giving
Mt 6:5-15 Praying
Mt 6:16-18 Fasting
Did you read each of
these "when..." by first reading Mt 6:1?
Mt 6:1 > 6:2
Mt 6:1 > 6:5-6
Mt 6:1 > 6:7-15
Mt 6:1 > 6:16
What are key
repeated words in Matthew 6:1-18?
Reward (Mt 6:1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 16, 18)
Father (Mt 6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18
What is Jesus'
point? Does He teach one should not be motivated by rewards?
He does not condemn rewards
He condemns the practice when it is
performed to please men not our Father
In short He condemns a wrong motive
In Matthew 6:19-34 Jesus teaches
several things not to do.
What does He say not
to do and what is the contrast He presents?
Mt 6:19 Do not story up for yourselves
treasures on earth
Mt 6:20 In contrast ("but") Store up
for yourselves treasures in heaven
Mt 6:21 What does
where you store your treasure teach?
Where your heart is - remember that
the Jews were used to performing acts according to the letter of the Law but
were not obeying from the heart.
What does Jesus
teach is not possible according to Mt 6:24?
No one can serve two masters
What master competes
Now keeping context
in mind (treasure on one side and mammon on the other) what is Jesus
teaching about the clear eye versus the bad eye in Mt 6:22-23?
He is referring to the eye as the
organ which sees and which desires what it sees. If it covets treasure on
earth or mammon, it is not clear but will fill the body with darkness.
What is the main
subject in Mt 6:25-34?
What was the worry over?
What does Jesus say
not to do?
Mt 6:25 Do not be worried about your
Mt 6:31 Do not worry about what you
will eat, drink or wear
What is Jesus'
prescription for worry over
necessities of life (Mt 6:33)?
Seek first His kingdom and His
All these things
will be added to you
What does Jesus command against in
Do not judge
(condemn, criticize, exercise a critical spirit)
Why not judge?
To judge is to suffer
the same judgment in the same degree or measure (Mt
To judge is to be blind to one's own
faults (Mt 7:3-5)
What is Jesus saying
- is He saying one should never exercise discernment?
No, because in Mt 7:5 he affirms the
speck removing ministry as long as the log has been removed from our own
eye. (Compare also Mt 7:6, 15-21)
What is Jesus
in Mt 7:6?
Do not give what is holy to dogs
Do not throw your pearls before swine
Note that determining who is a "dog"
or "swine" involves some discernment (~judgment)!
We'll discuss these in later lessons
What does Jesus
command in Mt 7:7-11? Why repeat prayer now? What is the context?
Prayer - Ask, seek, knock
imperative) = keep on
asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking
We need God's wisdom to judge
correctly (cf Solomon's request 1 Ki 3:9)
We need God's heart and power to
fulfill the command in Mt 7:12
What is Jesus'
instruction in Mt 7:12 and how do many refer to this verse?
the way you want them to
This is the golden rule
The Law and Prophets taught how to do
this, but His audience needed a change of thinking. Jesus spoke of the heart
of the Law. Our righteous treatment of others should not be for outward show
but from the heart to please our Father.
Which of Jesus'
instructions hits home to you?
On which of these do
you need to have a change in the way you think so that you change the way
What is the tenor of
the last section of Jesus' sermon (Mt 7:13-27)?
Jesus gives clear warnings...
Mt 7:13-14 2 Gates, 2 Ways
Mt 7:15-20 False prophets - 2 Trees
known by their fruits (cf Mt 3:8)
Mt 7:21-23 False profession (relate
this to Mt 5:20) - The problem is that the person has religious activity but
lawlessness (cf Mt 3:8)
Mt 7:24-27 False foundation - 2
Builders and 2 Houses -
Hearing Jesus' words without
obedience will bring a great fall
Play: My Hope is Built
What was the crowd's
reaction to the Sermon? Why?
Teaching with authority not as one of
their scribes (who quoted the various rabbis and so-called experts of the
Law) - Jesus' voice had an unusual, unmistakable ring of authority and no
wonder, for they were listening to the King Himself!
What is your
reaction to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount? Amazed? Convicted that you need a
change of thinking in some area?
Continue this study
that you might have your thinking more and more conformed to the mind of
Christ (cf 1Co 2:16). You will know how to be obedient from the heart.
Mt 1: Jesus' genealogy & birth
Mt 2: Magi, Herod, Jesus to Egypt then Nazareth
Mt 3: John the Baptist, repent, Jesus baptized
Mt 4: Jesus Tempted, preached repent
Mt 5: Blessed, You've heard but I say
Mt 6: Giving, praying, fasting
Don't store up, Don't worry, Seek first
Mt 7 Don't Judge, 2 gates, 2 trees, false profession, 2 foundations
Do you really want
to be righteous?
Sermon on the Mount
The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the
Son of David, the Son of Abraham...
This introduction reflects the fact
that Israel was anticipating the arrival of their long promised King, but
most of the Jews misunderstood the coming King's purpose. Most were
looking for a political king who would overthrow the crushing Roman rule.
And so Matthew presents the royal blood line of the King of the Jews.
Comparison of Matthew's genealogy with Luke's genealogy can be confusing
and lead one to believe that they are two entirely different genealogies,
which they are. The simple explanation is that Matthew gave Messiah's
ancestry through his step father Joseph and Luke presented his physical
blood line through Mary's ancestors.
Matthew's Genealogy > Through Joseph
> Royal line
Luke's Genealogy > Through Mary >
Second Samuel records the prophesied
line of the future King, God speaking to King David through the prophet
"When your days are complete and you
lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who
will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build
a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom
forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
This declaration is often referred to
as the "Davidic Covenant" although the word "covenant" or the act of
cutting of a covenant is not specifically stated. To be sure it was a
promise from Jehovah which Matthew shows (in the context of his entire
gospel) is fulfilled in one person alone, the person of Jesus Christ.
Now if you've looked at Luke's
genealogy, you may still be somewhat confused. Luke begins...
And when He began His ministry, Jesus
Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of
Joseph, the son of Eli (Heli) (Luke 3:23)
Luke affirms the Virgin Birth by the
phrase "being supposedly...son of Eli. From Matthew's
genealogy we know that Joseph was Jacob's son by birth, for Matthew
and to Jacob was born Joseph the
husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
So who is Joseph's father? Jacob or
Eli? It cannot be both. The clue is "being supposedly...son of Eli
(Heli)" (or as the NCV paraphrases it "People thought that Jesus was
Joseph’s son") which is another way of saying that yes Jesus was
related to Joseph who was His step-father. Joseph was also related to Eli,
but via his betrothal and marriage to Mary, as this was Mary's physical
father. Thus Eli was Joseph's father in law. In short, Luke's record is
apparently the genealogy of Jesus through His mother, Mary. Below is a
simple diagram (from Believer's Study Bible) summarizing the facts
concerning the two genealogical records of Jesus.
Matthew began with Abraham and went
forward in time. Luke began with Jesus and went backward in time,
including but going past Abraham's time (Luke 3:34) all the way back to
the beginning, to "Adam, the son of God" (Lu 3:38).
Morris in the Defender's
Study Bible explains Luke's genealogy this way...
Joseph was clearly the son of Jacob
(Matthew 1:16), so this verse should be understood to mean "son-in-law of
Heli." Thus, the genealogy of Christ in Luke is actually the genealogy of
Mary, while Matthew gives that of Joseph. Actually the word "son"
is not in the original, so it would be legitimate to supply either "son"
or "son-in-law" in this context. Since Matthew and Luke clearly
record much common material, it is certain that neither one could
unknowingly incorporate such a flagrant apparent mistake as the wrong
genealogy in his record. As it is, however, the two genealogies show that
both parents were descendants of David--Joseph through Solomon
(Matthew 1:7-15), thus inheriting the legal right to the throne of David,
and Mary through Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the
seed of David, since Solomon's line had had been refused the throne
because of Jeconiah's sin. (Bolding added)
There is still one "sticky point". The
following explanation is somewhat confusing but read it slowly with the
corresponding Scriptures. In the preceding note by Morris, he makes
mention of Jeconiah who is in the legal or royal line of Joseph
(see Mt 1:11,12). Jeconiah (sometimes called Coniah) was a
descendant from David through Solomon. Jeconiah was the last
king of Judah in the direct line from King David. When he was deported to
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2Chronicles 36:10), Jeconiah's uncle Zedekiah
was assigned to rule Judah for a brief reign, but he also was put down,
and no later king related to David was ever able to regain the throne.
So it might appear as if God had broken His promise to David "I will
establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2 Sa 7:14) But look at
the diagram above and note that it "splits" at King David, one branch
going through King Solomon and the other through the physical line,
Nathan, one of David's physical sons. King Jeconiah arose from King
Solomon's line but read God's decree upon Jeconiah and his line
"Thus says the LORD, 'Write this man
down childless (1Chr 3:17-18 indicate that Jeconiah actually had
sons - he was "childless" in the sense that none of his offspring would
ever occupy David's throne as shown in the latter part of this verse) . A
man who will not prosper in his days, for no man of his descendants
will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in
Judah.'" (Jeremiah 22:30)
Compare the preceding verse with God's
reiteration of His promise to David, which Jeremiah records
as a prophecy of Messiah...
'In those days and at that time I will
cause a righteous Branch of David (the Messiah) to spring forth; and He
shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. 'In those days
(describes His second coming at the end of
Daniel's Seventieth Week at which time He
Judah shall be saved (cf Ro 11:26-27, Zech 12:10, 13:7-9 where the "all"
of Romans 11:26 equates with the believing
the 1/3 of Jews that come through the Great Tribulation having placed
their faith in Messiah), and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety (Millennial
Kingdom); and this is
the name by which she shall be called: the LORD is our righteousness (Millennial
thus says the LORD, 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of
the house of Israel" (the only way that David could have a legitimate
heir was through the "non-cursed" line of Nathan) (Jeremiah 33:15-17)
So God solves this obvious dilemma by
providentially ordering that Messiah would come through King David's son,
Nathan, who had no curse (that his line could not give birth to a king)
and therefore who could give rise to a physical heir who could qualify as
a King from the line of David. Thus Luke records Messiah's descent through
Nathan to Mary (the "seed of the woman" Genesis 3:15).
In fairness, not everyone agrees
with the above explanation and that perfect and completely satisfactory
resolution of Matthew's and Luke's genealogies is difficult to establish.
On the other hand, what is clearly established is that
Messiah descends physically from the line of David and thus fulfills the
God's immutable promise that David would have have an heir on the throne
Troubled (5015) (tarasso)
means agitated, shaken like water in a glass sharply jarred, causing
inward commotion which takes away one's calmness of mind, disturbs one's
equanimity and makes one restless. It can mean to strike one's spirit with
fear and dread. To render anxious or distressed. To perplex the mind by
suggesting scruples or doubts. Figuratively of the mind, stirred up,
troubled, disturbed with various emotions such as fear.
Testament Commentary ties these first three chapters together
In chapters 1 and 2 Matthew has
revealed to us the greatness of the Christ, the true Son of David, the One
to whom even wise men from the east rendered homage. It is proper that a
king, especially such a king, have a herald to proclaim his approach. This
herald was John the Baptist...Everything about John was startling: his
sudden emergence, manner of dress, choice of food, preaching, and
baptizing...He was preaching in “the wilderness of Judea,” a term
indicating the rolling bad lands between the hill country of Judea to the
west, and the Dead Sea and lower Jordan to the east, stretching northward
to about the point where the Jabbok flows into the Jordan. It is indeed a
desolation, a vast undulating expanse of barren chalky soil covered with
pebbles, broken stones and rocks. Here and there a bit of brushwood
appears, with snakes crawling underneath (see verse 7). It is clear,
however, from Matt. 3:5 (cf. John 1:28) that the terrain of John’s
activity extended even to the east bank of the Jordan. It included the
entire region around—i.e., on both banks of this part of—the Jordan.
(Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. Vol. 9: New Testament commentary :
Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Book
(kerusso) primarily means to herald or cry out in public. It was
used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively
the coming of the king. Kerusso conveys a suggestion of formality, gravity
and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed. Greco-Roman rulers
had special heralds made announcements to the people, having been
commissioned by the ruler and making their announcements in a loud, clear
voice so everyone could hear. The herald described not an ambassador but a
messenger with a proclamation to be heard and heeded. In the ancient world
not to heed the ruler’s herald was serious and to abuse the messenger was
A T Robertson discussing John's
amazing wardrobe wonders...
Would such an uncouth figure be welcome
today in any pulpit in our cities? (Word Pictures in the New
The Amplified Version has a nice
"definition" of "repent" built into the translation (one of the
advantages of checking this version, the phrases in parentheses
functioning almost like a "mini-lexicon" if you will)...
And saying, Repent
(think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing
your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
word study of related noun form
metanoia) means to have another mind and so to change one's mind and to think
differently. It means to turn around, to change direction or to change the
mind and will. It does not denote just any change, but always a change
from the wrong to the right, away from sin and to righteousness. This
change of mind may be preceded by sorrow (cf 2Co 7:8-11); but sorrow for
sin, though it may cause repentance, is not repentance. To repent is to
demonstrate a godly sorrow for sin, to turn around and to go in the
opposite direction. John A. Broadus (Commentary on Matthew) observes that
“wherever this Greek word is used in the New Testament the reference is
to changing the mind and the purpose from sin to holiness.”
For an excellent illustration of
repentance see 1 Thes 1:9-10 (Paul is speaking about the Gentile
converts in Macedonia and Achaia).
Baker NT Commentary notes that
message was not prolix but pithy, not
soothing but soul-searching, not flattering but frightening, at least to
considerable degree. He was a preacher of imminent doom (see Mt 3:7, 10),
a catastrophe that could be avoided only by a, radical turnabout of mind
and heart. (ibid)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary
The concept of a coming kingdom was
well known in Old Testament Scriptures. But the idea that repentance was
necessary in order to enter this kingdom was something new and became a
stumbling block to many Jews. They thought that as children of Abraham
they would automatically be granted entrance into Messiah’s kingdom.
John’s message, however, was that a change of mind and heart (metanoeite,
“repent”) was necessary before they could qualify for the kingdom. They
did not realize how far they had drifted from God’s Law and the
requirements laid down by the prophets (e.g., Mal 3:7-12). (Walvoord, J.
F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible knowledge
commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
Kingdom of heaven:
related discussion on "the Kingdom") Matthew is the only Gospel to use this specific phrase, the other Gospel's
using the phrase "Kingdom of God". Most authorities agree that since
Matthew's target audience was primarily Jews, he avoided using the name
"God" so as not to offend the Jews who traditionally neither pronounced or
wrote the name "God". As we shall see in the Sermon on the Mount, the its
primary meaning of "Kingdom of heaven" is on “God’s kingly rule.”
That is, the basic emphasis is on the actual rule of God as an activity,
rather than on the realm or territory over which He rules. This will
become clearer in later studies.
to study over 100 uses of the "Kingdom" most of which refer to
the Kingdom of Heaven/God.
John MacArthur has an excellent
discussion of "kingdom of heaven" writing that...
Although the precise phrase is not
found there, the kingdom of heaven is basically an Old Testament
concept. David declares that “the Lord is King forever and ever” (Ps.
10:16; cf. Ps 29:10), that His kingdom is everlasting, and
that His dominion “endures throughout all generations” (Ps. 145:13).
Daniel speaks of “the God of heaven [who] will set up a kingdom
which will never be destroyed” (Dan 2.:44; cf. Ezek 37:25), a
“kingdom [that] is an everlasting kingdom” (Dan. 4:3). The God
of heaven is the King of heaven, and the heavenly kingdom is God’s
kingdom. Matthew uses the phrase kingdom of heaven thirty-two
times, and is the only gospel writer who uses it at all. The other three
use “the kingdom of God.” It is probable that Matthew used
kingdom of heaven because it was more understandable to his primarily
Jewish readers. Jews would not speak God’s name (Yahweh, or Jehovah), and
would often substitute heaven when referring to Him-much as we do in such
expressions as “heaven smiled on me today.” There is no significant
difference between “the kingdom of God” and the kingdom of
heaven. The one phrase emphasizes the sovereign Ruler of the kingdom
and the other emphasizes the kingdom itself, but they are the same
kingdom. Matthew 19:23-24 confirms the equality of the phrases by using
them in interchangeably.
The kingdom has two aspects, the outer and the
inner, both of which are spoken of in the gospels. Those aspects are
evident as one moves through Matthew.
In the broadest sense, the kingdom
includes everyone who professes to acknowledge God.
Jesus’ parable of the
sower represents the kingdom as including both genuine and superficial
believers (Matt. 13:3-23), and in His following parable (Matt
13:24-30) as including both wheat (true believers) and tares (false
believers). That is the outer kingdom, the one we can see but cannot
accurately evaluate ourselves, because we cannot know people’s hearts. The
other kingdom is the inner, the kingdom that includes only true believers,
only those who, as John the Baptist proclaimed, repent and are converted.
God rules over both aspects of the kingdom, and He will one day finally
separate the superficial from the real. Meanwhile He allows the pretenders
to identify themselves outwardly with His kingdom.
God’s kingly rule over the hearts of
men and over the world may be thought of as having a number of phases.
The first is the prophesied kingdom,
such as that foretold by Daniel (Da 2:44).
The second phase is the present
kingdom, the one that existed at the time of John the Baptist and that
he mentions. It is the kingdom that both John and Jesus spoke of as being
at hand (cf. Mt 4:17).
The third phase may be referred to
as the interim kingdom, the kingdom that resulted because of Israel’s
rejection of her King. The King returned to heaven and His kingdom on
earth now exists only in a mystery form. Christ is Lord of the earth in
the sense of His being its Creator and its ultimate Ruler; but He does not
presently exercise His full divine will over the earth. He is, so to
speak, in a voluntary exile in heaven until it is time for Him to return
He reigns only in the hearts of those
who know Him as Savior and Lord. For those “the kingdom of God is …
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Ro 14:17).
The fourth phase can be described as
the manifest kingdom, in which Christ will rule, physically, directly,
and fully on earth for a thousand years, the Millennium (see notes on this
In that kingdom He will rule both externally and internally-externally
over all mankind, and internally in the hearts of those who belong to Him
The fifth, and final, phase is the
“eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” which “will
be abundantly supplied” to all of His own (see my notes
2 Peter 1:11).
(MacArthur, J. (1989).
Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added) (see also lengthy ISBE entry
Kingdom of God or of heaven)
Easton's Bible Dictionary has
the following entry on "Kingdom of God"...
= "kingdom of Christ" (Matthew
= "kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians
5:5) = "kingdom of David" (Mark
11:10) = "the kingdom" (Matthew
= "kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ's
mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and
advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this
kingdom taken collectively.
Mt 3:6 they were being baptized
Being baptized (click
study of Greek verb baptizo)
is in the
imperfect tense which presents a vivid picture of over and over John was
carrying out this act) by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their
The parallel passage in Luke reads...
And he (John the Baptizer) came
into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance
for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)
The idea is not that the baptizing
saved anyone but that the only acceptable recipients of John's baptism
were those who were willing to repent. The remission of sins, having
already been accomplished in repentance, was symbolized in baptism. The
New Living Translation helps us see this truth paraphrasing it as...
Then John went from place to place on
both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized
to show that they had turned from their sins and turned to God to be
Pharisees - see articles on
article ) (See
originated in the 400 years between the Old and the New Testaments and by
the time of Jesus were the most influential party among the people.
Pharisees believed in the resurrection, angels, spirits and the coming of
the Messiah but their primary "strength" was their knowledge of the Law.
In fact they had reduced God's Law to a code of 365 negative commandments
and 250 positive commandments, both of which included many of their own
interpretations (think of Jesus' description "you have heard"... "but I
say"). They claimed their interpretations came from direct inspiration and
were God given. The upshot is that what they taught the average Jew was in
essence a perversion of God's original Law. This fact explains why Jesus
was so "hard" on the Scribes and Pharisees. As a result of their distorted
teaching, sin had become reduced only to external acts, rather than being
related to the internal condition of one's heart. Thoughts, words and
deeds were declared "right or wrong" because an external
condition was judged to have been absent or present (respectively).
William Barclay gives a number of examples of this attention to the
external at the expense of neglecting the internal. For example, if a Jew
gave an offering (alms) to the poor on the Sabbath, the distortion of the
Law stated that they could only give if the beggar placed his hand through
the door to receive the offering. If the Jew making the offering extended
his own hand out of the door to give the alms to the beggar, he was
considered to have broken the Sabbath! Are their any traditions you are
holding to which are not Biblical?
Easton's Bible Dictionary writes
that Pharisees were...
Separatists (Heb. persahin, from parash,
"to separate"). They were probably the successors of the Assideans (i.e.,
the "pious"), a party that originated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes
in revolt against his heathenizing policy. The first mention of them is in
a description by Josephus of the three sects or schools into which the
Jews were divided (B.C. 145). The other two sects were the Essenes and the
Sadducees. In the time of our Lord they were the popular party (John
7:48). They were extremely
accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses (Matthew
Paul, when brought before the council of Jerusalem, professed himself a
There was much that was sound in their
creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more. Theirs
was a very lax morality (Matthew
On the first notice of them in the New Testament (Matthew
3:7), they are ranked by our
Lord with the Sadducees as a "generation of vipers." They were noted for
their self-righteousness and their pride (Matthew
They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matthew
From the very beginning of his ministry
the Pharisees showed themselves bitter and persistent enemies of our Lord.
They could not bear his doctrines, and they sought by every means to
destroy his influence among the people. (Easton's
William Barclay describes the
Pharisees noting that...
In many ways the Pharisees were the
best people in the whole country. There were never more than 6,000 of
them; they were what was known as a chaburah, or brotherhood. They entered
into this brotherhood by taking a pledge in front of three witnesses that
they would spend all their lives observing every detail of the scribal
law. What exactly did that mean? To the Jew the Law was the most sacred
thing in all the world. The Law was the first five books of the Old
Testament. They believed it to be the perfect word of God. To add one word
to it or to take one word away from it was a deadly sin. Now if the Law is
the perfect and complete word of God, that must mean that it contained
everything a man need know for the living of a good life, if not
explicitly, then implicitly. If it was not there is so many words, it must
be possible to deduce it. The Law as it stood consisted of great, wide,
noble principles which a man had to work out for himself. But for the
later Jews that was not enough. They said: “The Law is complete; it
contains everything necessary for the living of a good life; therefore in
the Law there must be a regulation to govern every possible incident in
every possible moment for every possible man.” So they set out to extract
from the great principles of the law an infinite number of rules and
regulations to govern every conceivable situation in life. In other words
they changed the law of the great principles into the legalism of by-laws
The best example of what they did is to be seen in the Sabbath law. In the
Bible itself we are simply told that we must remember the Sabbath day to
keep it holy and that on that day no work must be done, either by a man or
by his servants or his animals. Not content with that, the later Jews
spent hour after hour and generation after generation defining what work
is and listing the things that may and may not be done on the Sabbath day.
The Mishnah is the codified scribal law. The scribes spent their
lives working out these rules and regulations. In the Mishnah the section
on the Sabbath extends to no fewer than twenty-four chapters. The Talmud
is the explanatory commentary on the Mishnah, and in the Jerusalem Talmud
the section explaining the Sabbath law runs to sixty-four and a half
columns; and in the Babylonian Talmud it runs to one hundred and fifty-six
double folio pages. And we are told about a rabbi who spent two and a half
years in studying one of the twenty-four chapters of the Mishnah.
The kind of thing they did was this. To tie a knot on the Sabbath was to
work; but a knot had to be defined.
“The following are the knots the making
of which renders a man guilty; the knot of camel drivers and that of
sailors; and as one is guilty by reason of tying them, so also of untying
On the other hand knots which could be
tied or untied with one hand were quite legal. Further,
“a woman may tie up a slit in her shift
and the strings of her cap and those of her girdle, the straps of shoes or
sandals, of skins of wine and oil.”
Now see what happened. Suppose a man
wished to let down a bucket into a well to draw water on the Sabbath day.
He could not tie a rope to it, for a knot on a rope was illegal on the
Sabbath; but he could tie it to a woman’s girdle and let it down, for a
knot in a girdle was quite legal. That was the kind of thing which to the
scribes and Pharisees was a matter of life and death; that was religion;
that to them was pleasing and serving God.
Take the case of journeying on the Sabbath. Ex16:29 says:
“Remain every man of you in his place;
let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
A Sabbath day’s journey was therefore
limited to two thousand cubits, that is, one thousand yards. But, if a
rope was tied across the end of a street, the whole street became one
house and a man could go a thousand yards beyond the end of the street.
Or, if a man deposited enough food for one meal on Friday evening at any
given place, that place technically became his house and he could go a
thousand yards beyond it on the Sabbath day. The rules and regulations and
the evasions piled up by the hundred and the thousand.
Take the case of carrying a burden. Jeremiah 17:21–24 said:
“Take heed for the sake of your lives
and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day.”
So a burden had to be defined. It was
defined as “food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in
a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, honey enough to put upon a wound,
oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an
eye-salve,” and so on and on. It had then to be settled whether or not on
the Sabbath a woman could wear a brooch, a man could wear a wooden leg or
dentures; or would it be carrying a burden to do so? Could a chair or even
a child be lifted? And so on and on the discussions and the regulations
It was the scribes who worked out these regulations; it was the Pharisees
who dedicated their lives to keeping them. Obviously, however misguided a
man might be, he must be desperately in earnest if he proposed to
undertake obedience to every one of the thousands of rules. That is
precisely what the Pharisees did. The name Pharisee means the Separated
One; and the Pharisees were those who had separated themselves from all
ordinary life in order to keep every detail of the law of the scribes.
Sadducees - see articles on
The origin of this Jewish sect cannot
definitely be traced. It was probably the outcome of the influence of
Grecian customs and philosophy during the period of Greek domination. The
first time they are met with is in connection with John the Baptist's
ministry. They came out to him when on the banks of the Jordan, and he
said to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from
the wrath to come?" (Matthew
3:7.) The next time they are
spoken of they are represented as coming to our Lord tempting him. He
calls them "hypocrites" and "a wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew
The only reference to them in the Gospels of (Mark
12:18-27) and (Luke
20:27-38) is their
attempting to ridicule the doctrine of the resurrection, which they
denied, as they also denied the existence of angels. They are never
mentioned in John's Gospel. There were many Sadducees among the "elders"
of the Sanhedrin. They seem, indeed, to have been as numerous as the
23:6). They showed their
hatred of Jesus in taking part in his condemnation (Matthew
They endeavoured to prohibit the apostles from preaching the resurrection
of Christ (Acts
They were the deists or skeptics of that age (denied resurrection). They
do not appear as a separate sect after the destruction of Jerusalem (Easton's
Viper (Greek = echidna) was an
adder or other poisonous snake, and here is used figuratively to describe
the character and conduct of the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees
and Sadducees, who at this time were coming out to be baptized by John,
probably because so many Jews had already come out to John.
Literally a viper was a small
poisonous snake that lived primarily in the desert regions of Palestine
(e.g., the wilderness of Judea which was essentially a barren, rocky
desert like area and was where John was crying "Repent" and baptizing
those who had confessed their sins). Because the viper looked
like a dried twig when they were still, a person collecting wood for a
fire would often pick one up inadvertently and be bitten, as happened to
Paul on the island of Malta (Acts 28:3). That particular viper was deadly,
and when Paul suffered no harm from the bite, the superstitious islanders
thought he was a god (Acts 28:6). Vipers therefore had the understandable
reputation for being both deadly and deceitful.
Jesus later in his ministry also twice (Mt 12:34, 23:33) referred to the
unbelieving and unrepentant Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood
of vipers”. Neither of the pithy messages of John the Baptist nor of
Jesus had any positive effect on those perverted, "pious" men, but served
only to harden their unbelief toward the King and their opposition toward
His Gospel of the Kingdom, and His righteous messengers.
It is interesting to note that in pagan
Greek culture, the viper (echidna) had long been associated with
evil. In Greek mythology the name echidna was given to a monster deity
that was half snake and half woman and that gave birth to other monsters,
including the murderous sphinx of Thebes.
By the time of Christ, the term "viper" was universally associated
with extreme wickedness and danger. Therefore when John the Baptist and
later Jesus called the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes (Mt 23:29) a
brood of vipers, He was declaring them to be both evil and deadly.
Fruit in keeping with
There must be a genuine change in one’s
lifestyle. A person who has truly repented will stop doing evil and begin
to live righteously. Along with a change of mind and attitude, true
repentance will begin to produce a change in conduct. (See separate word
A T Robertson comments that
John demands proof from these men (Ed
note: he is addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees) of the new life before
he administers baptism to them. “The fruit is not the change of heart, but
the acts which result from it” (McNeile). It was a bold deed for John thus
to challenge as unworthy the very ones who posed as lights and leaders of
the Jewish people. “Any one can do acts externally good but only a good
man can grow a crop of right acts and habits” (Bruce). (Robertson, A. Word
Pictures in the New Testament)
The Baker NT Commentary adds
repentance, if it is to be genuine,
must be accompanied by fruit-bearing. A merely outward confession of sin
will never do. A mere desire to be baptized, as if this rite were a
wonder-working charm, has no positive value. There must be that inward
change which expresses itself outwardly in God-glorifying conduct,
fruit-bearing in keeping with conversion. According to Luke 3:10–14 this
fruit-bearing must include such items as generosity, fairness,
thoughtfulness, and contentment; according to Matt. 23:23, justice, mercy,
and faith; and in view of the manner in which the Baptist descriptively
addresses these Pharisees and Sadducees (“You offspring of vipers”), there
must be uprightness. On fruit-bearing see also Matt. 5:20–23; 7:16–19;
12:33; 13:8, 23; 16:6, 11, 12; Mt 23; Luke 13:6–9; John 15:1–16; Gal.
5:22, 23; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:22; 4:17; Col. 1:6; Heb. 12:11; 13:15; and
James 3:18. (Ibid, p204)
'We have Abraham for our father'
The Jews thought that having Abraham as
their ancestor assured them of entry into the "kingdom of heaven", but
they were sorely deceived as John declares. John the Baptist was fully
aware of the fact that physical descent from Abraham did not guarantee
being a true son of Abraham. (cf Ro 2:28-29)
Many Jews believed that salvation was
based on their obedience to God in being circumcised, and that, therefore,
their eternal security rested in that rite. In his commentary on the Book
of Moses, Rabbi Menachem wrote,
“Our Rabbins [rabbis] have said that no
circumcised man will ever see hell”
The book Akedath Jizehak taught that
“Abraham sits before the gate of
hell, and does not allow that any circumcised Israelite should enter
there” (fol. 54, col. 2).
A T Robertson adds that...
John touched the tender spot, their
ecclesiastical pride. They felt that the “merits of the fathers,”
especially of Abraham, were enough for all Israelites. At once John made
clear that, reformer as he was, a breach existed between him and the
religious leaders of the time. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
the winnowing fork is in His
Dwight Pentecost comments
In a very graphic way John transported
his hearers to the harvest field. After the grain had been cut it was
brought to the threshing floor, and the threshing sledge was dragged over
it by oxen; then the grain was cast into the air in the evening when the
breezes blew, so that the breeze might blow the chaff away and leave only
the grain. John warned the nation Israel, in the light of his promise that
Messiah was coming, that the Old Testament made it very clear that only
the righteous, the redeemed, will be received into His Kingdom. The people
had been convicted by John’s preaching of their unworthiness, their
unrighteousness, and their sin. On one hand they were thrilled with the
message of the fulfillment of the promise that Messiah was coming; on the
other, they stood convicted of their unworthiness to meet Him. They were
torn between the two, the desire to see Him and fear that they would be
rejected by Him. (Pentecost, J. D. Design for living: Lessons in holiness
from the Sermon on the mount. Page 15. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel
Jesus endured the fullest force of
temptation. Whoever yields before the end has never felt the worst part of
the trial, which is always just before Satan gives up. It is because our
Lord Jesus resisted to the very end that He knows, as no one else has ever
known, just how severe the worst strain of temptation can be This is
why He is so perfectly understanding as He helps us to overcome (Heb 2:18,
Follow Me and I will make you fishers
Wiersbe notes that...
The term “fishers of men” was
not new. For centuries, Greek and Roman philosophers had used it to
describe the work of the man who seeks to “catch” others by teaching and
persuasion. “Fishing for men” is but one of many pictures of evangelism in
the Bible, and we must not limit ourselves to it. Jesus also talked about
the shepherd seeking the lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7), and the workers in the
harvest-field (John 4:34–38). Since these four men were involved in the
fishing business, it was logical for Jesus to use this approach. (The
Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
MacDonald writes that...
By responding to the call of Christ,
these fishermen became key figures in the evangelization of the world. Had
they remained at their nets, we would never have heard of them.
Recognition of the lordship of Christ makes all the difference in the
world. (Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville:
BKC adds that...
Jesus now called these fishermen to
leave their profession behind and to begin following Him permanently. He
would take them from fishing for fish and make them fishers of men. The
message of the coming kingdom needed to be proclaimed widely so that many
could hear and could become, by repentance, subjects of His kingdom. (The
Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL:
teaching...proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
MacArthur explains that...
Teaching is from didasko, from which we
get didactic and which refers to the passing on of information-often, but
not necessarily, in a formal setting. It focused on content, with the
purpose of discovering the truth-contrary to the forums so popular among
Greeks, where discussion and the bantering about of various ideas and
opinions was the primary concern (see Acts 17:21).
as illustrated by that of Jesus, was basically expository. Scripture was
read and explained section by section, often verse by verse....Proclaiming
is from a term (kerusso) often translated “to preach.” The root idea is
to herald, or cry out. Whereas didasko relates to explaining a message, kērussō relates simply to announcing it. While interpreting the Old
Testament in His teaching He also was proclaiming the gospel of the
kingdom, announcing the fact that God’s long-promised Messiah and King had
come to establish His kingdom. He continued and extended the heralding
that John the Baptist had begun... Gospel means “good news,” and it was
the good news that the kingdom was coming that Jesus preached throughout
Galilee. That was the supreme truth, the great good news, around which all
of His teaching centered. From His baptism to His ascension Jesus preached
the kingdom. “Until the day when He was taken up,” Luke tells us, Jesus
was “speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts
1:2–3)....Jesus’ healing was a divine verification. His words should have
been sufficient evidence of His Messiahship, as they were for those who
truly believed. The disciples left everything to follow Jesus before He
performed a miracle of any sort. Many heard Him and believed in Him who
had no need of healing for themselves or for their family or friends.
(MacArthur, J. (1989). Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)
B. B. Warfield said,
“When our Lord came down to earth He
drew heaven with Him. The signs which accompanied His ministry were but
the trailing clouds of glory which He brought from heaven, which is His
home. The number of the miracles which He wrought may easily be
underrated. It has been said that in effect He banished disease and death
from Palestine for the three years of His ministry. One touch of the hem
of His garment that He wore could heal whole countries of their pain. One
touch of His hand could restore life.”
Robertson writes that...
Rumor (akoe) carries things almost like
the wireless or radio. The Gentiles all over Syria to the north heard of
what was going on in Galilee. The result was inevitable. Jesus had a
moving hospital of patients from all over Galilee and Syria. “Those
that were sick”, literally “those who had it bad,” cases that the
doctors could not cure. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Great multitudes followed Him...
Constable writes that...
When Matthew wrote that multitudes
followed Jesus, he did not mean that they were thoroughly committed
disciples, as the text will show. Some were undoubtedly ardent disciples,
but others were simply needy or curious individuals who followed Jesus
temporarily. These people came from all over Galilee, Decapolis (the area
to the east of Galilee as far north as Damascus and as far south as
Philadelphia), Jerusalem, Judea, and east of the Jordan River. Many of
these had to be Gentiles. (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible)
introduces this section with the following comments...
Here begins what has traditionally been
called the Sermon on the Mount. Though Jesus repeated many of these truths
on other occasions, chapters 5–7 record one continuous message of the
Lord, delivered at one specific time. As we will see, these were
revolutionary truths to the minds of those Jewish religionists who heard
them, and have continued to explode with great impact on the minds of
readers for nearly two thousand years. Here is the manifesto of the new
Monarch, who ushers in a new age with a new message. (MacArthur, J.
Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)
for free. It is
a nifty, easy to download and install
(no restart), simple to
use Bible Verse pop up
tool that will allow you to read every cross reference in this study
quickly, in context and in the Version you prefer (Note: Only KJV is
free. NAS, ESV, NIV, et al available for purchase) When you hold the mouse
pointer over the Scripture reference, the passage pops up immediately and
can even be highlighted (Go to "Menu" > Options > Appearance.
Yellow works great).
works anywhere on the Web as well as
offline in Word for Windows, in email such as Outlook, etc. It can be
enabled or disabled easily (Menu > Disable). Try the free version. It
really works...you will be amazed and edified. (click
here) Note it won't work if
there is not a space between book name and chapter (Mt1:1 won't pop up but
Mt 1:1 will)