The Gospel According to Matthew
I. The Infancy Narrative (1:1-2:23)
II. Preparation for Ministry (3:1-4:7)
III. The Galilean Ministry of Jesus (4:7-16:12)
A. The Sermon on the Mount (4:17-7:29)
B. Jesus the Healer (8:1-9:35)
C. The Mission Discourse (9:36-11:1)
D. Mounting Hostility to Jesus (11:2-12:50)
E. The Parable Discourse (13:1-53)
F. The Kingdom & the Disciples (13:54-16:12)
IV. The Way to Jerusalem (16:13-20:34)
V. Final Teaching in Jerusalem (21:1-25:46)
VI. Death & Resurrection (26:1-28:20)
I. Jesus' Childhood (1-2)
II. The Beginnings of Jesus' Ministry (3:1-4:11)
A. John the Baptist (3)
B. The Temptation (4:1-11)
III. Jesus' Ministry in Galilee (4:12-14:12)
A. His Early Ministry (4:12-25)
B. The Sermon on the Mount (5-7)
C. Miracles (8-9)
D. Ministry (10:1-14:12)
IV. Ministry in Other Areas (14:13-17:21)
V. Jesus Returns to Galilee (17:22-18:35)
VI. Jesus' Ministry in Judea and Perea (19-20)
VII. Passion Week (21-27)
A. The Triumphal Entry (21:1-11)
B. The Cleansing of the Temple (21:12-17)
C. Questions from the Jewish Leaders (21:18-23:39)
D. The Olivet Discourse (24-25)
E. The Anointing of Jesus' Feet (26:1-13)
F. The Arrest, Trials, and Death of Jesus (26:14-27:66)
VIII. The Resurrection (28)
Tradition holds, of course, that the Book of Matthew was written by: Matthew. However, debate has surrounded this issue from the 2nd century. And more debate has followed. And even more debate once scientific historical research began. Rather than try to summarize the multiple books that have been written on the subject, I will leave this to the experts. It likely, however, was not authored by Matthew.
Most likely predominately Jews. St. Jerome's Commentary states "represents a predominantly Jewish-Christian outlook, though open to the Gentile mission." There is a subtle anti-Romanism that runs throughout as well as emphasis on how Jesus fulfills the Torah & prophets.
The purpose of the Gospel- the intention of its writers- is multifold. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary has perhaps the most concise explanation that doesn't cut down on the complexity of the issue. "He has a number of purposes in writer: to instruct and exhort members of his community; perhaps to provide liturgical reading and sermon material; but also to offer a missionary address to outsiders of good will, as well as apologetics and polemics directed to hostile critics and rivals." This aim is achieved by both the "story-telling" (or narrative) sections as well as with more "formal" discourse. In reading Matthew, we, by keeping these multifold purposes in mind, can find a greater appreciation for the subtleties of some sections. A thorough reading of footnotes will also aid in this understanding.
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
3 Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse,
6 Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph.
8 Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah.
9 Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah.
11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
12 After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,
15 Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
18 Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.
19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
24 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
25 He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
1:1 Hebrews kept extensive records of family ancestry for a variety of purposes (inheritance, rights, establish person's heritage, etc.) thus knowing the genealogy of Jesus is in keeping with the practices of the time.
1:1-1:17 While there discontinuity in the genealogy (as pointed out by many critics), many believe this section is simply to show that Jesus was the culmination of the kingship of Israel. A bit of a stretch (in my opinion), is the following: "These 'irregularities' culminate in the supreme 'irregularity' of the Messiah's birth of a virgin mother"10. If interested in the genealogy, the footnotes of many Bibles will include an explanation of the importance of each individual that is included.
1:17 Since Matthew specifically emphasizes that each section has fourteen, it is unlikely that that the thirteen of the last was due to his oversight. While some theorize that Jesus counts for two, it is more likely that this slip is the fault of a later scribe.
1:18-1:25 Virginal conception as fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel".
1:18 A Jewish betrothal was considered a binding pledge- much more so than we view it today- that was legal and only breakable by divorce. As to whether sexual relations were allowed at this time, sources differ: some say 'yes,' some say 'no.'
1:19 As the betrothal was considered as binding as marriage, her pregnancy would be viewed as adultery, the penalty for which was death. Joseph, wishing to spare Mary this fate, but also maintain his dignity/righteousness, planned a quiet divorce.
1:21 Jesus: in 1st century Judaism, the Hebrew name Joshua meaning "Yahweh helps" was also interpreted as "Yahweh saves"
1:24 Like the patriarchs in Genesis, we see Joseph as obedient to the divine instructions given to him.1
1:25 This verse is cited by many Protestants as proof that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. One should note that the word "until" does not imply nor exclude "relations" after the birth of Jesus. I take no stand on the matter and believe there are more important things to focus on than the bed of Joseph and Mary.
1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,
2 saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
6 'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage."
9 After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
11 and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
13 When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
14 Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
15 He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
17 Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more."
19 When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."
21 He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.
23 He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazorean."
2:1 King Herod reigned (as a vassal under the Roman emperor) from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C., hence the birth of Jesus could not have been in the year "1". This is due to the fact that the Gregorian calendar was "invented" in 525 (and became more widely used after 800). Jesus' birth was estimated on the calendar, and later scholarship and archeology have corrected the date.
2:1 Magi is the designation for the priestly caste of Persia, variously associated with dream interpretation, Zoroastrianism, astrology, and magic.
2:2 An ancient belief was that a new star appeared with the birth of a ruler. If such an event occurred, scientific explanation could be a supernova, meteor, or planetary conduction. The Chinese recorded a large comet in the year 5 B.C....the position of said comet also matches Biblical description of location.
2:4 Chief priests refers to the high-ranking priests of the temple who performed the sacrifices and purification rites required by Hebrew law. The following were most likely included in their numbers: ruling high priest, Caiaphas and former high priest, Annas. Both were members of the Sanhedrin.
2:11 Later tradition gave significance to each of the gifts. Gold signifies the kingship of Jesus; incense signified his divinity; and myrrh his suffering (or virtue, prayer, and suffering). Also note that while there were three gifts, nothing states there were three magi; this was a later addition/expansion.
2:13 Those in danger in the Palestine region often fled to Egypt, which was a place of refuge. Thus the choice of this location both makes sense with the practices of the time and allows Jesus to "relive" the Exodus of Israel.
2:16 The slaughter of the male children parallels the Exodus story in which Pharaoh ordered the death of the male children during the time of Moses' birth. This slaughter is quite in character with Herod: he had countless people put to death including one-time friends, priests, nobles, and family (generally done out of fear that they were desirous of his throne).
2:22 With the agreement of the Roman emperor Augustus, the son of Herod (Archelau) was given half of his father's kingdom, including the area of Judea. He reigned from 4 B.C. to 6 A.D. His other sons Herod Antipas and Philip were also given regions.
1 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
2 [and] saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
3 It was of him that the prophet Isaiahc had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”
4 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
5 At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him
6 and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
10 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.
12 His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
14 John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
15 Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.
16 After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him.
17 And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son,* with whom I am well pleased.”
3:1 John the Baptist comes from the priestly Essene milieu and is referenced outside the Bible by Josephus.
3:2 When John says the "kingdom of heaven" is at hand, he is referring to the coming of God. Devout Jews at the time avoided using God's name out of reverence. Mark, Luke, & John all refer directly to the coming of the Lord. 'Repent' = to change one's mind for the better.
3:4 Jews expected the return of Elijah from heaven to prepare Israel for the final coming of God's kingdom. John's austere dress echoes that of the prophet Elijah, who did not die, but rather ascended into heaven. John's dress and austere eating later became a model for monks. On a side note, it is likely his clothing was not made of actual camel's hair (which was fairly expensive once woven), but rather simple dressed camel's skin.
3:6 Ritual washing was a powerful and frequently used symbol at the time. Here it is a religious rite of cleansing/purification, but performed by John instead of by the penitent sinner alone. This was not just a symbolic act; they were to go forth and make serious changes in their lives and return to God. In addition, John's baptism was performed once-only in contrast to ritual washing.
3:7 Pharisees & Sadducees (see 'Beyond the Bible, 'People' section). The fairly harsh words of John ("You brood of vipers!") are directed to them rather than the crowds that came out of honest interest/faith.
3:8 'Bear fruit' = good works.
3:9 Salvation is no longer exclusive to the children of Abraham. Gentiles can be saved.
3:11 In contrast with John's baptism of water, Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Some scholars find them synonymous: both related to the the purifying and refining characteristics of fire. Others take fire as a threat of destruction of the unrepentant during God's judgment.
3:12 A winnowing fan was a fork-like shovel with which the threshed wheat was thrown into the air. The good kernels fell to the ground; the light chaff, blown off by the wind, was gathered and burned up.
3:13-17 The baptism of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit equips Jesus for his coming ministry. He has received the power, wisdom, and holiness he needs for that role. All four gospels include this incidence (though slightly differently), emphasizing its importance.
3:14-15 The dialogue between John and Jesus here only occurs in Matthew. It reveals that John is well aware of Jesus' superiority.
3:15 "to fulfill all righteousness" means to submit to God's plan for the salvation of the human race. Here Jesus is identified with the sinners around him by also accepting baptism.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.
3 The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
4 He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”
8 Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
9 and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
10 At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.
13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,
16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”
17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,
22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.
24 His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them.
25 And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
4:1-11 Jesus was proclaimed Son of God at his baptism. He is now called upon to display the character of true sonship, obedience. He does this by resisting Satan's three attempts at temptation: the first two are subtle, the third overt. Matthew and Luke tell almost identical tales, likely having drawn upon the same source. While the historicity of the event is not doubted, one can note that the relaying of it to us "thus represents a narrative midrash or interpretation of the event in such a way as to make it pastorally useful for believers." (1, p.639)
4:2 Forty days and forty nights is intended to recall the forty years of Israel wandering in the desert, as well as the forty nights of Moses and Elijah.
4:5-7 The devil attempts to use scripture to support his temptation, but Jesus answers with scripture to refute the temptation.
4:8 The devil offers all the kingdoms of the world and their glory/magnificence. We should note Jesus' refusal of this (outer spender and wealth) and his choice instead to be faithful to God.
4:11 Angels come to aid Jesus like they did with Elijah.
4:12-17 Zebulun and Naphtali are a fulfillment of Isaiah 8:23-9:1 (though one should note that Capernaum is actually only in Naphtali). "Galilee of the Gentiles" meant "the circle of the Gentiles," i.e. encircled by Gentiles- Galilee was by Matthew's day at least half Gentile in population, half pagan, and bilingual.
4:17 Jesus takes up the message of John of the Baptist, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
4:18 We see Simon with his original name, but Matthew also tells of his future renaming as Peter, upon whom the rock is built.
4:18-22 The call of the first disciples requires them to abandon their way of life and go with Jesus. As with the temptation, we can interpret (if we wish) that there might have been some slight time delay while the disciples talked to Jesus/spiritually grew and realized they should follow.
4:24 The phrase "gospel of the kingdom" is unique to Matthew, and occurs three times.
1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 He began to teach them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
The Similes of Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.
16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."
Teaching about the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
20 I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Teaching about Anger
21 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’
22 But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,
24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25 Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
26 Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
Teaching about Adultery
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.s It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna."
Teaching about Divorce
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’
32 But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Teaching about Oaths
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’
34 But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36 Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37 Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one."
Teaching about Retaliation
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.
40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."
Love of Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
5:1-2 Unlike Luke's sermon, this is more clearly directed at not only the disciples, but also the crowds. While Luke's sermon doesn't omit the crowds, Jesus still clearly raises his eyes and looks at his disciples when he speaks. In addition, this chapter does not immediately follow the one preceding. Its location in the Book of Matthew is an indication of its importance.
5:3-12 The Beatitudes do match up perfectly between Matthew and Luke. This is not to say that Jesus did not say them all; it is to say that they were recorded differently by different authors. This is logical, as it is unlikely any of the disciples sat taking notes while Jesus talked. In addition, most scholars believe the great discourses recorded to have been combinations of teachings given by Jesus over time...thus while they are a true presentation of the substance, they may not be exact quotes of Jesus.
All of the Beatitudes can be viewed in two lights: as literal (aka- those who mourn...those who mourn for loved ones or are sad) and as spiritual (aka- those who mourn for their sins). It depends upon the scholar as to which view (or both) they subscribe to.
5:3 In the OT, the poor in spirit referred to those without material possession, but whose confidence is in God. "In spirit" is meant to be extended to all, whatever their wealth, who recognize their complete dependence on God. We could also read "poor in spirit" as "humble." Luke simply says "blessed are you who are poor."
5:4 Mourn for their sins, not worldly mourning.
5:5 In the OT, "the land" meant the land of Palestine. Here it references the kingdom of heaven.
5:8 We should note the emphasis here between the purity of the heart (which includes thought, intention, emotion, and moral disposition) versus the ritual cleanliness (purity) practiced and required by the law.
5:9 This does not apply just to peacemakers between the nations. It applies to those who try to sow peace in their everyday lives, reducing conflict, etc.
5:10 Righteousness: here, as usually in Matthew, means conduct in conforming with God's will.
5:13-16 By their deeds the disciples are to influence the world for good. If they fail in good works, they are as useless as flavorless salt or a lamp whose light is concealed.
5:17-48 See Bible study for this section.
5:22 The concept of punishment of sinners by fire either after death or after the final judgment is found in Jewish apocalyptic literature (e.g. Enoch), but the name 'Geenna' is first given to the place of punishment in the NT.
5:26 The severity of the judge in the parable is a warning of the fate of unrepentant sinners in the coming judgment by God.
5:29-30 No sacrifice is too great to avoid total destruction in Gehenna. Actual physical mutilation is not being advocated.
5:31 In the OT, it is commanded that a bill of divorce be given to a woman; this statement implies the legitimacy of divorce. Here Jesus is making it clear that divorce is NOT acceptable.
5:33-37 It is debatable whether Jesus was prohibiting all oath taking or just the practice of frequent, common oaths that don't respect the seriousness of oath taking.
5:38-42 The OT meaning of "eye for an eye" was intended to moderate punishment; during those times it was common for people to kill in retaliation for theft, for example. In the NT, Jesus goes further and says even this proportionate retaliation is not acceptable.
5:39 What is here commanded is a Christian patience under injuries and affronts and to be willing even to suffer still more, rather than to indulge the desire of revenge. This does not mean one may not calmly go to the law for redress of injury or, perhaps, in some circumstances, sanction war in extreme cases.
5:46 The tax collectors of the time were a set of men, odious and infamous among the Jews, for their extortions and injustice.
5:48 In the gospels, the word 'perfect' occurs only in Matthew, here and in Matthew 19:21. The Lucan parallel demands that the disciples be merciful. We are to imitate, as far as we can with our human limitations, the divine perfection.
Teaching about Almsgiving
1 “[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Teaching about Prayer
5 “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
7 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The Lord’s Prayer
9 “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread;
12 and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
13 and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
14 If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
Teaching about Fasting
16 “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
Treasure in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
The Light of the Body
22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.
God and Money
24 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Dependence on God
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
6:1-18 We are warned against doing good in order to be seen, and are given three examples: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. In each, the conduct of the hypocrites is contrasted with the conduct demanded of the disciples. The reference to the heavenly Father makes it clear this is a moral exhortation.
6:1 In later Judaism, almsgiving had become a bit legalistic. Thus it was not the giving itself that was condoned, but the attitude towards it. Those who today say "Well, I gave my 10%" [towards church] are displaying the same poor attitude. Alms were given via 1) "alms of the dish" (food and money received daily for distribution) and 2) "alms of the chest" (coins received on the Sabbath for widows, orphans, strangers, & the poor. (4)
6:2 Hypocrites is often referenced as the scribes and Pharisees (alms/charitable gifts were given in the synagogues on the sabbath). This attitude shows not only the controversies during Jesus' time but also displays some of the tension between Pharisaic Judaism and the church when Matthew was written.
6:2 Saint Basil expounds upon this: "Let us avoid vain glory, the agreeable plunderer of our good works, the pleasant enemy of our souls, which presents its poison to us under the appearance of honey."
6:4 Here, as elsewhere in the Bible, is the clear indication that good works are meritorious. We are to do them by direct command of the Lord.
6:5 As with almsgiving, the "stand and pray" was a normal, expected part of Jewish life. Adult Israelite males were to pray at morning and evening and before and after meals.
6:7 It is not long prayer (as long prayer sessions were displayed many times in the Bible) that is warned against here, "but rhetorical and elaborate prayer, as if we thought to persuade God by our eloquence" (12).
6:9-15 Matthew's form of the Lord's Prayer follows the liturgical tradition. Luke's less developed form is probably closer to the original words of Jesus. See "Bible Questions: The Lord's Prayer" for details/theology on each verse.
6:16 The only fast prescribed/required in Mosaic law was that of the Day of Atonement, however, fasting had become a regular religious practice in later Judaism.
6:24 'Mammon' is an Aramaic word meaning wealth or property. We cannot serve both God and the world; the spirit and the flesh; justice and sin. The retention of the Aramaic word emphasizes the word (wealth) personified becoming an evil Master (and thus the person worshipping it a slave).
6:25-34 Jesus is not denying that humans have needs or condemning tending to those needs, but is rather advising against becoming overly anxious about them, thus becoming slaves to them.
6:34 Menochius expounded upon this verse, saying "Christ does not prohibit all care about temporal concerns, but only what hinders us from seeking the kingdom of heaven in the first instance; or what makes us esteem more the things of this world, than those of the next" (12)
1 “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?
5 You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.
Pearls before Swine
6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
The Answer to Prayers
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread,
10 or a snake when he asks for a fish?
11 If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
The Golden Rule
12 “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.
The Narrow Gate
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
16 By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 So by their fruits you will know them.
The True Disciple
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
The Two Foundations
24 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
28 When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
7:1 This is not a prohibition against honest recognition of others' faults, but rather a warning against passing judgement in a spirit of arrogance, or while forgetting one's own faults.
7:3 'Splinter' is also translated as mote; and in this case, refers to light sins.
7:5 While 'hypocrites' most commonly refers to scribes and Pharisees (in Matthew), here it is applied to those erring Christian disciples who ignore their own serious offenses while focusing on the minor faults of others.
7:6 'Dog and swine' were Jewish terms of contempt for Gentiles; in light of other Matthew teachings, we read this to apply to obstinately unrepentant fellow Christians. Some commentators (Haydock among them) expand it to refer to those who are enemies to the truth of Christ.
7:8 "Whatever we ask necessary to salvation with humility, fervour, perseverance, and other due circumstances, we may be assured God will grant when it is best for us. If we do not obtain what we pray for, we must suppose it is not conducive to our salvation, in comparison of which all else is of little moment." (Haydock)
7:12 In the 18th century, dubbed the "Golden Rule," it is found in both negative and positive forms, in both pagan and Jewish sources, both earlier and later than the gospels. Thus we can perhaps conclude it is a universal wisdom that humans come to. "For this is the law and prophets" means "this is the sum of the law and of the prophets, the whole law of the Jews"(Menochius).
7:13-28 These verses are a series of antitheses, contrasting two ways of living within the Christian community: those who follow the words of Christ and those who don't.
7:15-20 As in the OT, those who claimed to speak in the name of God were called prophets. And also like the OT, there were both true and false ones.
7:17-18 These verses are not to say that a man cannot change and start to bear good fruit, nor that a man once producing good works always remains so. It is to show that as a man is in a certain state (sin or grace), the fruit he bears will be marked by this.
7:28-29 'When Jesus finished these words'...this or similar words used by Matthew to conclude each of the five great discourses.
The Cleansing of a Leper
1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
2 And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
3 He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately.
4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”
The Healing of a Centurion’s Servant
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
7 He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
8 The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
11 I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven,
12 but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour [his] servant was healed.
The Cure of Peter’s Mother-in-Law
14 Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
15 He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.
16 When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick,
17 to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: “He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
The Would-be Followers of Jesus
18 When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side.
19 A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
21 Another of [his] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
The Calming of the Storm at Sea
23 He got into a boat and his disciples followed him.
24 Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.
25 They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.
27 The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniacs
28 When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
29 They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
31 The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
32 And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned.
33 The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.
34 Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
8:2 Jewish law provided for the cleansing of lepers (or those with skin disease) before they were allowed back into the religious communities. We see Jesus healing and the assumption they will be received back without any other cleaning rituals required.
8:3 Touching a leper made one unclean by Jewish law. Jesus touching the leper- he could have healed via a word as he does elsewhere- shows a disregard for said law; that his healing is above the old law.
8:5-13 Extremely detailed arguments continue over whether the similarities to other gospels here reflect a common oral tradition or a common literary source. The cure of the centurion's servant "is a foretaste of the Gentile mission" (Brown et al., p.648).
8:5 A centurion was a military officer commanding a hundred men. He was probably in the service of Herod Antipas (see "people" page).
8:8 Centurion's words show not only humility, but also the awareness of the sensitivity of Jewish customs regarding entering the homes of Gentiles.
8:10 Codex Sinaiticus has the identical wording of Luke 7:9 "not even in Israel," but seems due to harmonization.
8:11-12 Luke 13:28-29 has same phrase "There will be wailing and grinding of teeth." Phrase used frequently to reference final condemnation. "Matthew inserts into the story a Q saying about the entrance of the Gentiles into the kingdom and the exclusion of those Israelites who...refused to believe in Jesus" (Catholic Book Publishing, 8:11-12 note). A warning against religious complacency.
8:14-15 Mark has a request for healing rather than one at Jesus' initiative, and in Mark, she rises to serve "them," not "him."
8:17 This fulfillment of prophecy citation follows the MT version of Isaiah 53:4, not LXX.
8:18 "the other side," i.e. Sea of Galilee.
8:20 "Son of Man" is a peculiar phrase found rarely; it is found only on the lips of Jesus, "save possibly for Mark 2:10 and parallel passages, a fact which probably reflects an authentic tradition that Jesus did refer to himself in this way" (Brown et al., p.648).
8:22 Burying ones' parents was considered a duty of highest import in both the Jewish and Hellenistic cultures.
8:23-27 "From this allegory of the ship and the storm, we may take occasion to speak of the various senses in which the words of Scripture may be occasionally taken" (Haydock). This allegory is carried forth is many homilies by later men. "The author's handling of this miracle shows that he interprets it as an allegory for following Jesus" (Attridge).
8:23 "disciples," learners, those willing to sacrifice everything to follow Jesus. The above examples underline the requirements of discipleship.
8:25 Matthew and Mark contrast sharply: Matthew shows the disciples as pleading for help while Mark shows them almost rebuking Jesus for not helping them.
8:28 "Gadarenes" as the location is not certain. Various early versions of the Bible we have (Codex Vaticanus & Codex Sinaiticus) have different places that are similar in spelling.
8:29 "before the right time"- Apocryphal literature (e.g. Enoch) support the idea that evil spirits/demons were allowed to afflict human beings until the time of final judgement.
8:32 There are many hypothesis on why Jesus allowed the demons to be released into the swine. Bluntly, we cannot know.
The Healing of a Paralytic
1 He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.
2 And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
3 At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
7 He rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.
The Call of Matthew
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
10 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
The Question about Fasting
14 Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
17 People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The Official’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage
18 While he was saying these things to them, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
19 Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
20 A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.
21 She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
22 Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.
23 When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
24 he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him.
25 When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.
26 And news of this spread throughout all that land.
The Healing of Two Blind Men
27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!”
28 When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
30 And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.”
31 But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
The Healing of a Mute Person
32 As they were going out, a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him,
33 and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
34 But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”
The Compassion of Jesus
35 Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.
36 At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
38 so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
9:1 'His own town': Capharnaum. According to Jansenius, "Christ may be said to have had three cities: Bethlehem, in which he was born; Nazareth, in which he was educated; and Capharnaum, in which he most frequently resided, during his sacred ministry." (Haydock).
9:3 Mark includes the reason for their accusation of blasphemy: "Who but God can forgive sins?" [2:7] The scribes are accurate in their recognition "that the forgiveness of sins, which entail an offense against God, belong to divine activity" (Brown et al., p.649)
9:8 Mark simply has them glorifying God [2:12], while "Matthew's extension to human beings of the authority to forgive sins points to the belief that such authority was being claimed by Matthew's church." (Senior et al.) This reflects the thoughts occupying those of the second- or third-generations, in which faith in Christ was presupposed.
9:9 Mark names this tax collector "Levi" [2:4]. However, no such name appears in the four lists of the twelve apostles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts), while all four list Matthew as "the tax collector." Scholars put forth a variety of explanations, the most common being that Matthew is Levi (changing names after discovering Christ was common in NT). The fundamental meaning of the story remains unchanged.
9:10 Previously it was said Jesus came to his own town Capernuam, thus 'his house' is not completely clear: is this verse referring to the house of Jesus or Matthew?
"Tax collectors." See "People" page for explanation of why tax collectors were often social outcasts.
9:13 This verse echoes back to Hosea 6:6 "For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts". If mercy is superior to temple sacrifices, than it is clearly superior to the laws of ritual impurity.
9:14 Note how they question Jesus about his disciples, not his own behavior.
9:15 Fasting, as a sign of mourning, would be inappropriate at this time of joy (when Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom). This verse also looks forward and indicates that there is a time when he will be taken away from them.
9:16-17 Both parables speak to the unsuitability of attempting to combine the old and new. Jesus' teaching is not a fixing up of Judaism and the gospel cannot be contained within the limits of Mosaic law (as also demonstrated earlier in Matthew when Jesus extended the law, or some places, corrected it).
9:18 Mark has expanded explanation of 'official': "one of the synagogue officials" [5:22].
9:20 'tassel' might also mean 'fringe.' It was worn (according to Mosaic law) as a reminder to keep the commandments.
Women with hemorrhages were considered to be perpetually menstruating, thus permanently unclean.
9:22 St. Chrysostom has an interesting enriching of this verse: "But Jesus turning about. Our divine Saviour, fearing lest he might alarm the woman by his words, says immediately to her, Take courage; and at the same time calls her his daughter, because her faith had rendered her such" (Haydock).
9:24 'sleeping' is a Biblical metaphor for death, thus Jesus is not denying her death, but rather assuring them that she will be roused from her sleep of death.
9:24 The accusation foreshadows the opposition that is growing to Jesus in chapters 11 & 12.
The Mission of the Twelve
1 Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.
2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
3 Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
4 Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
The Commissioning of the Twelve
5 Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
6 Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
9 Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
10 no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep.
11 Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.
12 As you enter a house, wish it peace.
13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.
14 Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
15 Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16 “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
17 But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues,
18 and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.
19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
22 You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
Courage under Persecution
26 “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
27 What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
30 Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
31 So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
33 But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.
Jesus: A Cause of Division
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
35 For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’
The Conditions of Discipleship
37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
41 Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
10:1 The disciples are given leave to drive out unclean spirits and the treat every illness, but they are not yet commissioned to teach. This will only come after Jesus' Resurrection.
10:2-4 This is the only time in Matthew that the Twelve are designated as 'apostles.' Apostle means "one who is sent." Prior to this, they were disciples. And later others will be sent as disciples. But these 12 are apostles, with special designation from Jesus.
10:2 'James, the son of Zebedee,' called James the greater, was put to death by Herod. He was brother to John the Evangelist. The other James was called the less, also James of Alpheus, and the brother of the Lord, bishop of Jerusalem, martyred there about the year 61. (Haydock)
10:3 Thaddaeus is mentioned only twice in Scripture, here and in Mk 3:18, both lists of the apostles. In the other two lists of the apostles (Lk 6:16 and Ac 1:13), only 11 are listed. (Gordon-Conwell).
10:4 'Simon the Cananean': Cananean means "zealot" but the meaning of the designation is unclear. Could simply reference his religious zeal -or- his official membership in the party of the Zealots.
10:5 See Bible study for this section on more explanation of why Jesus' instructions here excluded preaching to the Gentiles.
10:14 'Shake the dust from your feet': this gesture indications a complete disassociation from such unbelievers. The early church took the instructions given directly by Jesus here (and in Mark 6:6b-13) as a checklist/rules for missionaries and how to act with "those whose hospitality they sought" (Brown et al., p.609).
10:17 Jesus begins to speak of the persecutions that the apostles will undergo following his death & resurrection.
10:20 "the spirit of your father: In contrast to the Lucan parallel, Matt stresses that the holy Spirit is the spirit of God the Father" (Brown et al., p.651).
10:22 When Matthew refers to "the end" here, he is most likely referring to the end of that particular individual's life rather than the End of Times.
10:23 It is difficult to decipher how the disciples took the term "before the Son of Man comes." Obviously at this point the death and resurrection had not taken place.
10:25 'Beelzebul' means "prince of demons." As in the last chapter, this is a foreshadowing the charges that will be brought against Jesus.
10:34 'the sword' refers not an "uprising but as a regrettable side effect of tension and division resulting from the uncompromising proclamation of the kingdom" (Brown et al., p.652).
10:38 The first mention of the cross in Matthew, explicitly that of the disciple, but implicitly that of Jesus (and follow after me). During this time period, crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans for offenders who were not Roman citizens (Catholic Book Publishing, fn).
10:39 One who denies Jesus in order to save one's earthly life will be condemned to everlasting destruction; loss of eathly life for Jesus' sake will be rewarded by everlasting life in the kingdom.
10:40-42 Those who receive the disciples of Jesus also receive Jesus.
1 When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
The Messengers from John the Baptist
2 When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him
3 with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
4 Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
6 And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Jesus’ Testimony to John
7 As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
8 Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
9 Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’
11 Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.
13 All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
15 Whoever has ears ought to hear.
16 “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
17 ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns
20 Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
23 And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?l You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
The Praise of the Father
25 At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
26 Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
The Gentle Mastery of Christ
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
"11:2-6 These verses contain a school of debate, probably of post-resurrection origin, over the nature of Jesus' mission, held between disciples of JBap and Christians (Brown et al., p. 652).
11:2 'the works of the Messiah'/ striking phrase created by Matthew turns the debate into one of Messiahship, while it originally might have been one of whether or not he was a divine prophet.
11:3 "John the Baptist had already, on several occasions, declared that Jesus was the Messias. (John i). He could not then doubt of it himself, but sent his disciples to take away their doubt. (Witham)" (Haydock, MT 11:3).
11:5-6 Jesus' response fulfills (and is taken from) the passages of Isaiah.
11:7-19 While Jesus rebukes John, he also reminds all of the greatness of John the Baptist's function.
11:9-10 Common Jewish belief held that there had been no prophet since Malachi, but the coming of a new prophet was eagerly awaited. Because Mal 3:1 & Ex 23:20 both indicate that this prophet was the messenger who would proceed the one who would bring the final age.
11:12 'violent ones take it by a force'/ a puzzling saying over which meaning is disputed. Oddly enough, if you read it with modern eyes, it sounds as if Jesus is talking to us.
11:13 Matthew inverts the normal order and says "prophets and the law" emphasizing the important of the prophetic passages of the law (and "its fulfillment in the teaching of Jesus and to the transitory nature of some of its commandments" (Catholic Book Publishing).
11:14-15 While there were multiple (confusing) notations on these verses, this is the one I found most understandable: "John is here styled Elias, not in the same manner as those who taught the transmigration of souls; but the meaning is, that the precursor came in the spirit and virtue of Elias, and had the same fulness of the Holy Ghost...(St. Jerome in St. Thomas Aquinas)" Haydock, 11:14.
11:16-19 Difficult parable with much dispute about its meaning.
11:19 'Wisdom is vindicated by her works' is sometimes translated as 'Wisdom is justified by her children'
11:21 Tyre, Sidon: pagan cities denounced for wickedness in OT.
11:25-26 This same sentiment (words similar, probably drawn from Q) is also expressed in Lk 10:21-22.
11:27 This verse is vital and is expressed in Lk also. If authentic, as it may well be, it would give us a most important clue to Jesus' self-understanding as absolute Son of the absolute Father (Brown et al., p.653).
11:28-29 These verses are only in Matthew in NT, and are similar to Sirach 51:23-26.
11:29 Jesus clearly states to take the yoke of following his word instead of the yoke of the law.
Picking Grain on the Sabbath
1 At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,
4 how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat?
5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent?
6 I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
7 If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.
8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”
The Man with a Withered Hand
9 Moving on from there, he went into their synagogue.
10 And behold, there was a man there who had a withered hand. They questioned him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him.
11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep that falls into a pit on the sabbath will not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable a person is than a sheep. So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored as sound as the other.
14 But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death.
The Chosen Servant
15 When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many [people] followed him, and he cured them all,
16 but he warned them not to make him known.
17 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.
21 And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute. He cured the mute person so that he could speak and see.
23 All the crowd was astounded, and said, “Could this perhaps be the Son of David?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.”
25 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.
26 And if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand?
27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
31 Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
A Tree and Its Fruits
33 “Either declare the tree good and its fruit is good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit.
34 You brood of vipers, how can you say good things when you are evil? For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
35 A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil.
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.
37 By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Demand for a Sign
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
39 He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
41 At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.
42 At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.
The Return of the Unclean Spirit
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a person it roams through arid regions searching for rest but finds none.
44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it empty, swept clean, and put in order.
45 Then it goes and brings back with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they move in and dwell there; and the last condition of that person is worse than the first. Thus it will be with this evil generation.”
The True Family of Jesus
46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him.
47 [Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”]
48 But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.
50 For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”