If you have been tracking with my blogs on this series, Insights to the Sermon on the Mount, thus far in our studies in Matthew chapters 5 and 6, we have unpacked the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer and had a close-up look at a new covenant Jesus was giving us as He introduced Himself to the world. This introduction dealt chiefly with the model for our relationship to God, to one another and with ourselves.
In this final chapter of the sermon, we will look at man’s relationship with man as Jesus sets the standard. Once again, as you study, keep at the forefront of your mind the culture of the day. It was a patriarchal society with men in control of everything. Women and children were treated as possessions and had no rights.
They could not as much as make a decision on their own. The Jews had a major struggle under Roman occupation to maintain their belief system and their relationship with God was under threat under Roman rule. Not only were Jewish peasants under abuse from the Romans, but their oral law was struggling to survive as well.
The Biggest Question of the Jews
Their big question was, “Just when will our Messiah arrive and deliver us from Roman occupation just as He delivered our ancestors out of Egypt?”
Indeed. The Jews missed Jesus as their Savior because they expected God to act in the exact same manner with similar miracles to save them from the Romans. The king of the world that was born in a manger in the most vulnerable form, a baby, was standing before them on the hill, introducing Himself. The words of Jesus would be monumental. All of history was about to change.
Before proceeding, really become familiar with this passage, the text, the context, and try as much as you can to imagine the world of the Jews at that time as they sat there on that hill being taught by a supposed unlearned man, a mere carpenter.
Seek God’s Approval
We see all through the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus compares the lovers of God with the hypocrites. The religious leaders had established a system of religious works and law and placed a heavy burden on the people. Jesus taught us to seek God’s approval rather than man’s.
Jesus came to set the people free!
Do a self-examination for a minute. Do you feel the institutionalized church has lost sight of the fact that Jesus came to set us free? Are you challenged by your religious leaders? Do you suffer from trying to please men and doing good works?
To Judge or Not to Judge
Regarding the beginning of Matthew chapter 7 and judging, only God is qualified to judge men, because He alone can see into our hearts and know our motivations and it is these motivations that just might condemn us! Our judgment is obstructed by our prejudices that make others’ sins look worse than our own. We seem to forget that the same scale we use to judge will be used against us.
Is it biblical to judge at all?
According to Scripture, the church was judging hypocritically. This was the problem. They were also judging presumptuously, hastily, by their own non-scriptural convictions, with prejudice, and unmercifully. According to 1 Corinthians 13, we are called to judge, however, we are to judge the action not the person. The whole book of James deals with these, and tells us that a man who restores his brother will save him from death and “cover a multitude of sins.”
We’re to restore those who fall into sin with meekness, knowing our own frailty. We’re to discriminate between those who have a heart for spiritual things and knowing the mind of God and those who do not. We are not to sit back and just say nothing.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…