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Passage: Matthew 7:1-20

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).