1 – 5
These verses are a good example of the divine authority which Jesus of Nazareth submitted his claim to. He did not speak on his authority, as a man, but he affirmed that he stood in the place of God himself, and spoke for God himself.
It was customary in Jewish tradition to fast on the Sabbath. Instead, Jesus and his disciples broke bread and ate. He affirmed that he did this by the authority that he had.
As a consequence, they Pharisees became very jealous of Jesus. They constructed a version of him that they could hate.
6 – 11
Their hatred for him expanded through the next few Sabbaths. The house of God was established by such leaders who would come to fulfill their hatred and express their rage. Jesus offered such an opportunity as a man with a deformed hand approached him in hope that he would be healed.
Jesus, knowing the thoughts of the Pharisees, turned to them and asked, “Are good deeds authorized on the Sabbath, or is it a day for evil? Is it a day to save or destroy?” Then he restored the mans’ hand and the Pharisees gathered in their quarters to plan against him.
I would say that this verse demonstrates the difference between Jewish custom and the scripture. The Old Testament did say that we were not to work on the scriptures, but one would be justified in applying their judgment to that. To strictly apply it to every situation would cause sin.
That is why the Bible is meant to be studied. If it were the case that strictly no work could be done on that particular day, the world would become unlivable. Suffering children would be shunned, dying men would be left to perish, preachers would not speak the word of God.
But nobody lives in such a manner. Jesus healed men on the Sabbath and demonstrated the sheer lack of understanding that the religious leaders maintained.
12 – 16
Jesus chose his twelve disciples. Simon Peter. Andrew (Brother of Peter) James. John. Phillip. Batholomew. Matthew. Thomas. James (Son of Alphaeus). Simon (who was called the zealot). Judas (Son of James. Judas Isacariot (who later betrayed Jesus).
17 – 26
Crowds still sought out this man who was said to have healed the sick, repelled evil spirits and performed great signs. So Jesus was not unanimously hated by the Jewish community. To the contrary, he was quite loved and adored by many.
It was the Pharisees who wanted that love for themselves, and they wanted the power that he demonstrated for themselves. What they could not understand was that Jesus wanted to explain to them precisely how they could acquire it. That, of course, is by putting faith into the Lord and completely surrendering.
After healing everybody in the crowd, Jesus turned to his disciples and explained to them that those who weep now will smile later, so long as they surrender themselves.
He went on to explain something that is familiar to especially Christian apologists, but also to many Christians. He said that when the world hates us because we follow the Son Of Man, we ought leap for joy, because our reward awaits us in heaven. He explained that those who reject the Good News today have in their lineage, those who rejected the ancient prophets.
In contrast, Jesus explained that those who delight in their riches and indulge in worldly carnalities will receive no reward.
27 – 36
These verses outline Jesus’ lesson about love for our enemies. He explained that if we love only those who love us, then we are no better than the sinner and the corrupt, for even they love those who love them. But if we love our enemies, we will be as the Father, for he loves all.
I would say that this doctrine is something that Christians know intellectually but do not really reflect through their actions. I would recommend my article Humanity: How It Has Poisoned Everything. Christians do not always express their love. Rather, there are excellent examples of Christians committing terrible atrocities, even in the name of Jesus.
This is a doctrine that the hateful Christian will spite, and the loving Christian will embrace.
I would say that it extends even into our internet debates with atheists, Muslims and other Christians. While some of the things they say may frustrate us, and while they are intentionally rude, Luke 6:29 says that if somebody strikes one cheek that we should offer the other. We are not to strike back. We are to treat them how we would like to be treated, even if they are not treating us in that manner. In this way, we will be like our Father, who feeds even those who rebel against him.
37 – 42
This is a teaching that often offers confusing. Most interpret the first half of the sentence and strangely shun the second half. It does not say, “Do not judge.” It says, “Do not judge, lest you are judged.”
What does this mean? If we judge others by their sins, we will be judged by ours. We will be victim to God’s judgment instead of blessed by his mercy, if that is what we do to others. So we are in no position to make judgments against another persons’ sin.
An excellent example of this would be the man who was being crucified next to Jesus during the time of his death. This man did not live up to the standard of the Old Covenant (he was being crucified) and he did not live up to the standard of the New Covenant (he did not know that it even existed). Therefore by the judgment of human beings, this man would be condemned for his actions.
Instead, Jesus saw that he was coming into true repentance and he declared, “You shall be with me in paradise.”
Our judgments are not reflective of truth. Moreover, we are just guilty are they are. Jesus asked, “Could a blind person lead another blind person? Won’t they both fall into a ditch?”
Instead of judging others, Jesus declared that we should concentrate on our own problems, for everybody has them.
43 – 45
I would begin by distinguishing the difference between what this verse actually says and the ‘works salvation’ doctrine. This verse does not say that good works are necessary for salvation. Rather, it says that from salvation, good works will follow.
So people are not working to receive salvation. But after receiving salvation, and being made anew by God, we will do good works as a consequence of our salvation. This is how the world will know us.
46 – 49
Jesus explained in this verse that his apostles are measured by their reaction in the time of trouble. When the flood waters come, do we scream to the heavens and curse the name of God? Or do we remain faithful in him? That is dependent on the foundation which we build now.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago. It was my article entitled, Where Is God!?.
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