A. Judgment and discernment.
1. (1-2) A summary statement on passing judgment upon others.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
a. Judge not, that you be not judged: Here Jesus moved to another idea in the Sermon on the Mount. He had primarily dealt with themes connected with the interior spiritual life (attitudes in giving, prayer, fasting, materialism, and anxiety over material things). Now He touches on an important theme related to the way we think of and treat others.
i. We remember that Jesus called for a righteousness that was greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). In the way some people think, the way to make one’s self more righteous is to be more judgmental of others. Jesus here rebuked that kind of thinking.
b. Judge not, that you be not judged: With this command Jesus warned against passing judgment upon others, because when we do so we will be judged in a similar manner.
i. Among those who seem to know nothing of the Bible, this is the verse that seems to be most popular. Yet most the people who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. They seem to think (or hope) that Jesus commanded a universal acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching.
ii. Just a little later in this same sermon (Matthew 7:15-16), Jesus commanded us to know ourselves and others by the fruit of their life, and some sort of assessment is necessary for that. The Christian is called to show unconditional love. But the Christian is not called to unconditional approval. We really can love people who do things that should not be approved of.
iii. So while this does not prohibit examining the lives of others, it certainly prohibits doing in the spirit it is often done. An example of unjust judgment was the disciples’ condemnation of the woman who came to anoint the feet of Jesus with oil (Matthew 26:6-13). They thought she was wasting something; Jesus said she had done a good work that would always be remembered. They had a rash, harsh, unjust judgment.
Š We break this command when we think the worst of others.
Š We break this command when we only speak to others of their faults.
Š We break this command when we judge an entire life only by its worst moments.
Š We break this command when we judge the hidden motives of others.
Š We break this command when we judge others without considering ourselves in their same circumstances.
Š We break this command when we judge others without being mindful that we ourselves will be judged.
c. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: Jesus did not prohibit the judgment of others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair, and that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged by.
i. When our judgment in regard to others is wrong, it is often not because we judge according to a standard but because we are hypocritical in the application of that standard - we ignore the standard in our own life. It is common to judge others by one standard and ourselves by another standard - being far more generous to ourselves than others.
d. With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you: This is the principle upon which Jesus built the command, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” God will measure unto us according to the same measure we use for others. This is a powerful motivation for us to be generous with love, forgiveness, and goodness to others. If we want more of those things from God, we should give more of them to others.
i. According to the teaching of some rabbis in Jesus’ time, God had two measures that He used to judge people. One was a measure of justice and the other was a measure of mercy. Which ever measure you want God to use with you, you should use that same measure with others.
ii. We should only judge another’s behavior when we are mindful of the fact that we ourselves will be judged, and we should consider how we would want to be judged.
2. (3-5) An illustration of Jesus’ principle regarding judging.
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
a. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? The figures of a speck and a plank are real figures, yet used humorously. Jesus shows how we are generally far more tolerant to our own sin than we are to the sin of others.
i. Though there might be a literal speck in one’s eye, there obviously would not be a literal plank or board in an eye. Jesus used these exaggerated, humorous pictures to make His message easier to understand and more memorable.
ii. It is a humorous picture: A man with a board in his eye trying to help a friend remove a speck from the friend’s eye. You can’t think of the picture without smiling and being amused by it.
iii. An example of looking for a speck in the eye of another while ignoring the plank in one’s own is when the religious leaders brought the woman taken in adultery to Jesus. She had certainly sinned; but their sin was much worse and Jesus exposed it as such with the statement, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first (John 8:7).
b. Look, a plank is in your own eye: Jesus indicates that the one with the plank in his own eye would not immediately be aware of it. He is blind to his obvious fault. It is the attempt to correct the fault of someone else when we ourselves have the same (or greater fault) that earns the accusation, “Hypocrite!”
i. “Jesus is gentle, but he calls that man a ‘hypocrite’ who fusses about small things in others, and pays no attention to great matters at home in his own person.” (Spurgeon)
ii. Our hypocrisy in these matters is almost always more evident to others than to ourselves. We may find a way to ignore the plank in our own eye, but others notice it immediately. A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about a man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man, but was blind to his own sin, which was much greater (2 Samuel 12).
c. First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye: Jesus didn’t say that it was wrong for us to help our brother with the speck in his eye. It is a good thing to help your brother with his speck, but not before dealing with the plank in your own eye.
3. (6) Balancing love with discernment.
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
a. Do not give what is holy to the dogs: After He warned us against judgmental attitudes and self-blind criticism, Jesus here reminded us that He did not mean to imply that the people of His Kingdom suspend all discernment. They must discern that there are some good, precious things that should not be given to those who will receive them with contempt.
i. We might say that Jesus means, “Don’t be judgmental, but don’t throw out all discernment either.”
ii. The dogs and swine here are often understood as those who are hostile to the Kingdom of God and the message that announces it. Our love for others must not blind us to their hardened rejection of the good news of the kingdom.
iii. Yet we may also see this in the context of the previous words against hypocrites. It may be that in Jesus’ mind, the dogs and swine represent hypocritical, judgmental believers. These sinning hypocrites should not be offered the pearls that belong to the community of the saints.
iv. “The Didache, or, to give it its full name, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which dates back to a.d. 100 and which is the first service order book of the Christian Church, lays it down: “Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist except those baptized into the name of the Lord; for as regards this, the Lord has said, ‘Give not that which is holy unto dogs.’” (Barclay)
v. Jesus also spoke in the context of correcting another brother or sister. Godly correction is a pearl (though it may sting for a moment) that must not be cast before swine (those who are determined not to receive it).
b. Nor cast your pearls before swine: Our pearls of the precious gospel may only confuse those who do not believe, who are blinded to the truth by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and may only expose the gospel to their ridicule.
i. “The gospel is to be preached to every creature, Mark 16:15. But when the Jews were hardened, and spoke evil of that way before the multitude, Acts 19:9, the apostles left preaching them.” (Poole)
ii. Of course, Jesus did not say this to discourage us from sharing the gospel. Previously in this very sermon Jesus told us to let our lights shine before the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Jesus said this to call us to discernment, and to encourage us to look for prepared hearts that are ready to receive. When we find such open hearts, we can trust that God has already been working upon them.
B. More instructions for prayer.
1. (7-8) Jesus invites us to keep on asking, seeking and knocking.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
a. Ask . . . seek . . . knock: We see a progressive intensity, going from ask to seek to knock. Jesus told us to have intensity, passion, and persistence in prayer. The fact that Jesus came back to the subject of prayer – already dealt with in some depth in Matthew 6:5-15 – shows the importance of prayer.
i. In this three-fold description of prayer as asking, seeking, and knocking we see different aspects of prayer and different aspects of its reward.
Š Prayer is like asking in that we simply make our requests known to God, and everyone who asks receives. Receiving is the reward of asking.
Š Prayer is like seeking in that we search after God, His word, and His will, and he who seeks finds. Finding is the reward of seeking.
Š Prayer is like knocking until the door is opened, and we seek entrance into the great heavenly palace of our Great King. Entering through the opened door into His palace is the reward of knocking, and the best reward of all.
ii. “Ask with confidence and humility. Seek with care and application. Knock with earnestness and perseverance.” (Clarke)
iii. The idea of knocking also implies that we sense resistance. After all, if the door were already open there would be no need to knock. Yet Jesus encouraged us, “Even when you sense that the door is closed and you must knock, then do so and continue to do so, and you will be answered.”
iv. Yet the image of knocking also implies that there is a door that can be opened. “His doors are meant to open: they were made on purpose for entrance; and so the blessed gospel of God is made on purpose for you to enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall, but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.” (Spurgeon)
v. We come to God’s door and all we must do is knock. If it were locked against us we would need a burglar’s tools to break in, but that isn’t necessary; all we must do is knock, and even if I don’t have a burglar’s skills I can still knock – I know enough to do that!
vi. “Any uneducated man can knock if that is all, which is required of him. . . . A man can knock though he may be no philosopher A dumb man can knock. A blind man can knock. With a palsied hand a man may knock. . . . The way to open heavens gate is wonderfully simplified to those who are lowly enough to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and ask, seek, and knock believingly. God has not provided a salvation which can only be understood by learned men . . . it is intended for the ignorant, the short-witted, and the dying, as well as for others, and hence it must be as plain as knocking at a door.” (Spurgeon)
b. Ask and it will be given to you: God promises an answer to the one who diligently seeks Him. Many of our passionless prayers are not answered for good reason, because it is almost as if we ask God to care about something we care little or nothing about.
i. God values persistence and passion in prayer because they show that we share His heart. It shows that we care about the things He cares about. Persistent prayer does not overcome God’s stubborn reluctance; it gives glory to Him, expresses dependence upon Him, and aligns our heart more with His.
ii. “No soul can pray in vain that prays as directed above. The truth and faithfulness of the Lord Jesus are pledged for its success.- Ye SHALL receive - ye SHALL find – it SHALL be opened. These words are as strongly binding on the side of God, as thou shalt do no murder is on the side of man. Bring Christ's word, and Christ's sacrifice with thee, and not one of Heaven's blessings can be denied thee.” (Clarke)
2. (9-11) Jesus illustrates the giving nature of God.
“Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
a. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Jesus makes it clear that God doesn’t have to be persuaded or appeased in prayer. He wants to give us not just bread, but even more than what we ask for.
i. Thankfully, the times we ask for something as bad as a serpent without knowing, like a loving parent God often mercifully spares us the just penalty of our ignorance.
b. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven: It is blasphemous to deny God’s answer to the seeking heart. We then imply that God is worse than even an evil man is.
i. Instead, in comparison to even the best human father, how much more is God a good and loving father. “ ‘How much more!’ says our Lord, and he does not say how much more, but leaves that to our meditations.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “What a picture is here given of the goodness of God! Reader, ask thy soul, could this heavenly Father reprobate to unconditional eternal damnation any creature he has made? He who can believe that he has, may believe any thing: but still GOD IS LOVE.” (Clarke)
C. Conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount: A partial summary and a repeated call to decision.
1. (12) A summation of Jesus’ ethical teaching regarding our treatment of others: the golden rule.
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
a. Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them: The negative way of stating this command was known long before Jesus. It had long been said, “You should not do to your neighbor what you would not want him to do to you.” But it is a significant advance for Jesus to put it in the positive, to say that we should do unto others what we want them to do unto us.
i. “The Golden Rule was not invented by Jesus; it is found in many forms in highly diverse settings. About a.d. 20, Rabbi Hillel, challenged by a Gentile to summarize the law in the short time the Gentile could stand on one leg, reportedly responded, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. This is the whole law; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.’ (b. Shabbath 31a). Apparently only Jesus phrased the rule positively.” (Carson)
ii. In so doing, Jesus makes the command much broader. It is the difference between not breaking traffic laws and in doing something positive like helping a stranded motorist. Under the negative form of the rule, the goats of Matthew 25:31-46 are found “not guilty.” Yet under the positive form of the Golden Rule – Jesus’ form – they are indeed found guilty.
iii. This especially applies to Christian fellowship. If we would experience love and have people reach out to us, we must love and reach out to others.
iv. “None but he whose heart is filled with love to God and all mankind can keep this precept, either in its spirit or letter. . . . It seems as if God had written it upon the hearts of all men, for sayings of this kind may be found among all nations, Jewish, Christian, and Heathen.” (Clarke)
b. For this is the Law and the Prophets: Jesus shows that this simple principle - the golden rule - summarizes all the Law and the Prophets say about how we should treat others. If we would simply treat others the way we would want to be treated, we would naturally obey all the law says about our relationships with others.
i. “Oh, that all men acted on it, and there would be no slavery, no war, no swearing, no striking, no lying, no robbing; but all would be justice and love! What a kingdom is this which has such a law!” (Spurgeon)
ii. This makes the law easier to understand, but it doesn’t make it any easier to obey. No one has ever consistently done unto others as they would like others to do unto themselves.
2. (13-14) The decision between two ways and one of two destinations.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
a. Enter by the narrow gate: Jesus did not speak of this gate as our destiny, but as the entrance to a path. There is a right way and a wrong way, and Jesus appealed to His listeners to decide to go the more difficult way, which leads to life.
i. He understood and taught that not all ways and not all destinations are equally good. One leads to destruction, the other to life.
ii. “The strait gate signifies literally what we call a wicket, i.e. a little door in a large gate.” (Clarke)
iii. “Jesus is not encouraging committed disciples, ‘Christians,’ to press on along the narrow way and be rewarded in the end. He is rather commanding his disciples to ender the way marked by persecution and rewarded in the end.” (Carson)
b. Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life: The true gate is both narrow and difficult. If your road has a gate that is easy and well traveled, you do well to watch out.
i. “You must not therefore wonder if my precepts be hard to your carnal apprehensions, nor be scandalized though you see but few going in the right road to the kingdom of heaven.” (Poole)
3. (15-20) The danger of false prophets and the decision between two trees with their fruit.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
a. Beware of false prophets: Jesus just warned us of a path that leads to destruction. Now He reminds us that there are many who would try to guide us along the broad path that leads to destruction. The first step to combating these false prophets is to simply beware of them.
i. “Warnings against false prophets are necessarily based on the conviction that not all prophets are true, that truth can be violated, and that the gospel’s enemies usually conceal their hostility and try to pass themselves off as fellow believers.” (Carson)
b. Who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves: It is in the nature of these false prophets to deceive and deny their true character. Often they deceive even themselves, believing themselves to be sheep when in fact they are ravenous wolves.
i. “The basic fault of the false prophet is self interest.” (Barclay) It can be expressed by a desire for gain or an easy life; a desire for prestige; or the desire to advance one’s own ideas and not God’s.
ii. “Teachers who preach for hire, having no motive to enter into the ministry but to get a living, as it is ominously called by some, however they may bear the garb and appearance of the innocent useful sheep, the true pastors commissioned by the Lord Jesus, or to whatever name, class or party they may belong, are, in the sight of the heart-searching God, no other than ravenous wolves, whose design is to feed themselves with the fat, and clothe themselves with the fleece, and thus ruin, instead of save, the flock.” (Clarke)
c. You will know them by their fruits: We guard ourselves against false prophets by taking heed to their fruits. This means paying attention to everal aspects of their life and ministry.
i. We should pay attention to the manner of living a teacher shows. Do they show righteousness, humility and faithfulness in the way they live?
ii. We should pay attention to the content of their teaching. Is it true fruit from God’s Word, or is it man-centered, appealing to ears that want to be tickled?
iii. We should pay attention to the effect of their teaching. Are people growing in Jesus or merely being entertained, and eventually falling away?
d. Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit: This fruit is the inevitable result of who we are. Eventually - though it may take a time for the harvest to come - the good or bad fruit is evident, revealing what sort of “tree” we are.
i. Every tree that does not bear good fruit: “Not to have good fruit is to have evil: there can be no innocent sterility in the invisible tree of the heart. He that brings forth no fruit, and he that brings forth bad fruit, are both only fit for the fire.” (Clarke)
ii. “It is not merely the wicked, the bearer of poison berries, that will be cut down; but the neutral, the man who bears no fruit of positive virtue must also be cast into the fire.” (Spurgeon)
iii. Earlier in the chapter Jesus warned us to judge ourselves first, to look for the speck in our own eye before turning our attention to the beam in our neighbor’s eye. Therefore before asking it of anyone else, we should first ask: “Do I bear fruit unto God’s glory?”
4. (21-23) The decision between two claims of Jesus’ Lordship, one false and one true.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
a. Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven: Jesus spoke here of a proper verbal confession, where these ones called Jesus Lord. This is vital, but never enough by itself.
i. We must use the language of “Lord, Lord” – we cannot be saved if we do not. Though hypocrites may say it, we should not be ashamed to say it. Yet it alone is not enough.
ii. This warning of Jesus applies to people who speak or say things to Jesus or about Jesus, but don’t really mean it. It isn’t that they believe Jesus is a devil; they simply say the words very superficially. Their mind is elsewhere, but they believe there is value in the bare words and fulfilling some kind of religious duty with no heart, no soul, not spirit – only bare words and passing thoughts.
iii. This warning of Jesus applies to people who say “Lord, Lord” and yet their spiritual life has nothing to do with their daily life. They go to church, perhaps fulfill some daily religious duties, yet sin against God and man just as any other might. “There are that speak like angels, live like devils; that have Jacob’s smooth tongue, but Esau’s rough hands.” (Trapp)
b. Who says to Me . . . will say to Me in that day: It is staggering that Jesus freely claims He is the one people must stand before on that final day of judgment, and He is the one who is rightly called Lord. This obscure teacher in a backwater part of the world claimed to be the judge of all men in that day.
i. By saying “in that day” Jesus drew our attention to a coming day of judgment for all men. “What is the chief object of your life? Will you think as much of it “in that day” as you do now? Will you then count yourself wise to have so earnestly pursued it? You fancy that you can defend it now, but will you be able to defend it then, when all things of earth and time will have melted into nothingness?” (Spurgeon)
c. Lord, Lord, have we not: The people Jesus speaks of here had impressive spiritual accomplishments. They prophesied, cast out demons, and had done many wonders. These are wonderful things, but they meant nothing without true fellowship; true connection with Jesus.
i. Jesus did not seem to doubt their claims of doing the miraculous. He didn’t say, “You didn’t really prophesy or cast out demons or do miracles.” This leads us to understand that sometimes miracles are granted through pretended believers, reminding us that in the final analysis, miracles prove nothing.
ii. Significantly, they even did these things in the name of Jesus. Yet, they never really had a relationship of love and fellowship with Jesus. “Through my love to the souls of men, I blessed your preaching; but yourselves I could never esteem, because you were destitute of the spirit of my Gospel, unholy in your hearts, and unrighteous in your conduct.” (Clarke)
iii. “If preaching could save a man, Judas would not have been damned. If prophesying could save a man, Balaam would not have been a castaway.” (Spurgeon)
d. I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! In the end, there is one basis of salvation. It isn’t mere verbal confession, not “spiritual works,” but knowing Jesus and being known by Him. It our connection to Him – by the gift of faith that He gives to us – that secures our salvation. Connected to Jesus we are secure; without connection to Him all the miracles and great works prove nothing.
i. “What a terrible word! What a dreadful separation! Depart from ME! From the very Jesus whom you have proclaimed in union with whom alone eternal life is to be found. For, united to Christ, all is heaven; separated from him, all is hell.” (Clarke)
ii. In addition, these are not people who lost their salvation. Instead, they never truly had it (I never knew you).
5. (24-27) The decision between two builders and their destiny.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
a. I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: In Jesus’ illustration of the two builders, each house looked the same from the outside. The real foundation of our life is usually hidden and is only proven in the storm, and we could say that the storms come from both heaven (rain) and earth (floods).
i. “The article used to denote not an individual rock, but a category – a rocky foundation.” (Bruce)
ii. “The wise and the foolish man were both engaged in precisely the same avocations, and to a considerable extent achieved the same design; both of them undertook to build houses, both of them persevered in building, both of them finished their houses. The likeness between them is very considerable.” (Spurgeon)
b. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house: A storm (rain, floods, wind) was the ultimate in power to generations that didn’t have nuclear weapons. Jesus warns us that the foundations of our lives will be shaken at some time or another, both now (in trials) and in the ultimate judgment before God.
i. Time and the storms of life will prove the strength of one’s foundation, even when it is hidden. We may be surprised when we see who has truly built upon the good foundation. “At last, when Judas betrayed Christ in the night, Nicodemus faithfully professed him in the day.” (Trapp)
ii. It is better that we test the foundation of our life now rather than later, at our judgment before God when it is too late to change our destiny.
iii. Jesus may have had in mind an Old Testament passage: When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation. (Proverbs 10:25)
c. Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them: Merely hearing God’s word isn’t enough to provide a secure foundation. It is necessary that we are also doers of His word. If we are not, we commit the sin that will surely find us out, the sin of doing nothing (Numbers 32:23) - and great will be our fall.
i. “Wherein lay the second builder’s folly? Not in deliberately seeking a bad foundation, but in taking no thought of foundation . . . His fault was not an error in judgment, but inconsiderateness. It is not, as is commonly supposed, a question of two foundations, but of looking to, and neglecting to look to, the foundation.” (Bruce)
ii. “Their misery and calamity shall be the greater, by how much their hopes have been the stronger, the disappointment of their expectations adding to their misery.” (Poole)
iii. Yet no one can read this without seeing that they have not, do not, and will not ever completely do them. Even if we do them in a general sense (in which we should), the revelation of the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount drives us back again and again as needy sinners upon our Savior. “The Mount of ethical enunciation reveals the need for the Mount of the Cross.” (Morgan)
6. (28-29) The effect of Jesus’ sermon on those who heard Him.
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
a. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes: His audience could not but notice that Jesus taught with an authority lacking in the other teachers in His day, who often only quoted other Rabbis. Jesus spoke with inherent authority, and the authority of God’s revealed word.
i. “The scribes spoke by authority, resting all they said on traditions of what had been said before. Jesus spake with authority, out of His own soul.” (Bruce)
ii. “Two things surprised them: the substance of his teaching, and the manner of it. They had never heard such doctrine before; the precepts which he had given were quite new to their thoughts. But their main astonishment was at his manner: there was a certainty, a power, a weight about it, such as they had never seen.” (Spurgeon)
b. The people were astonished at His teachings: Whenever God’s word is presented as it truly is, with its inherent power, it will astonish people, and set itself apart from the mere opinions of man.
i. When we really understand Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount, we should be astonished also. If we are not astonished, then we probably haven’t really heard or understood what Jesus has said.
ii. To have the hearers astonished was a good thing; but it was not good if that was the extent of the effect. A good preacher always wants to do far more than astonish his listeners.
© 2009 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission