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Matthew 7:1-20 – Further Teaching on Righteousness

Summary

A heart that is established in the righteousness of the kingdom will avoid hypocritical judgments of others and know that the Father continues to give good gifts to all who ask. The righteousness of the kingdom is not an easy road; it is not just talk, but it is recognized by its fruits. It is summarized in the simple yet profoundly practical command: treat others as you would have them treat you.

Analysis

In a series of sayings, this section of Jesus' Sermon continues to paint a picture of life as imagined in the new righteousness of the kingdom. The sayings betray much of the character of the common sense of wisdom traditions. They call for the avoidance of hypocritical judgment of others and concentration instead on an apt assessment of one's own needs for growth. They invite the confident asking in prayer that belongs to one who reasons that God is at least as generous as human parents. They summarize all the law and prophets in the familiar Golden Rule: do to others as you would have them do to you. Finally they recognize that such righteousness is not an easy road to travel and it is plagued by false prophets who would mislead. The key is to recognize that the righteousness of the kingdom is not a matter of talk but of bearing fruit that befits the kingdom. As such, these words recall and are consistent with the call for repentance in John's and Jesus' initial preaching of the kingdom (see 3:2, 8; 4:17).

Matthew 7:1-20

Judging Others

7‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s* eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your neighbour,* “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s* eye.

Profaning the Holy

6 ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.

Ask, Search, Knock

7 ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Golden Rule

12 ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate

13 ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy* that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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