Matthew Journey Chapter 7

This is the final chapter in the famed Sermon on the Mount.  After taking time to set up God’s holiness and our unworthiness, Jesus discusses how that plays out in our relationship with others and with God.

 Matthew 7

  • Do not judge others, or you too will be judged.  Man, this is a divisive verse.
  • God is the decider and judge.  Jesus doesn’t say he we are stupid and can’t know wrong from right.  We are just not the ones who can make a final decision about a person based on actions, including judging ourselves.
  • I never really thought of it this way, but one implication of this is the fact that we can not pass judgment on our failures or triumphs.  God is the one who defines who we are.
  • I heard a great comment on this recently.  We are to see others failures and faults as a chance for restoration, not for condemnation.
  • I love Jesus exaggeration here.  Take the log out of your eye before you try to check out the speck in someone else’s.  He shows our foolishness here.
  • More exaggeration:  will you give your kid a rock when he’s hungry?
  • We are messed up yet we still give good things to our children.  God loves us, and no matter what we do, he still has the best prepared for us if we accept it.
  • Just because everyone is on a path doesn’t mean it is our path.
  • It’s so cool after showing how worthless we can be, Jesus wraps things up in this chapter by telling us how loved we are by God.
  • Telling us not to judge others is like taking up for your kid.  NO matter how messed up they are, only Dad gets to get in their face and tell them to straighten up.
  • Jesus wraps it up nicely with a great picture showing how all this is to our benefit.
  • It may seem strange or difficult at times, but the rewards are huge for perseverance
  • Even when we don’t persevere, even we we get off the path, even when we are confused by those around us, God is still to set us straight and to love us.

Matthew Journey Chapter 6

Another great chapter. Jesus continues his sermon from the previous chapter. This chapter is all about the inner life v. the outer life, and what God values.

  • Who are we doing good things for, God or ourselves?
  • If we give to those in need to somehow earn something, we have missed the point.
  • God is not impressed by us when we pray.
  • People used to think it took dramatic loud acts to catch the attention of the gods. They would sacrifice, cut themselves, perform sexual acts, scream and yell . . . not so with our God.
  • Jesus’ prayer is so simple a five-year-old can memorize it, yet so passionate and forthright.
  • if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”
  • Have you ever done what God led you to do, then complained about it so everyone would know how spiritual you are?
  • Jesus is point out here, among other things, that the Father looks at our inner life, not our outer appearance or actions. Who are we to do differently?
  • Jesus says don’t be an actor, be yourself.
  • Jesus points out two masters we must choose between. Was it God and Satan or God and the World? Nope: God and Money. That’s something to digest.
  • Jesus makes a great contrast: Humans vs Birds. Birds were cheap, they were the sacrifice of the poor people. Of course we are more valuable than they are, and God takes care of them
  • “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[2]? . . .Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” This stuff is in the Bible folks.

This chapter tells me to get over myself! I don’t need to worry about my needs, God will take care of me. I need to worry about my relationship with God and with others, and do those in a selfless way. The rest will take care of itself IF I get my priorities straight.

What about you? How are your priorities?

The Return – Matthew Journey Chapter 5

After a month or so hiatus, the Matthew Journey returns, with Chapter 5.

Whew, Chapter 5 is intense! Here we find the so-called Beatitudes and the beginning of Jesus’ single longest sermon. This is a chapter all about rethinking.

  • In the Beatitudes, Jesus bit by bit turns everything we think about life and power on it’s head.
  • This is such a cool example of asking the wrong question. For instance, we want to ask, “God, how can I find happiness.” Jesus answer is, “You should be asking, how can you comfort others and bring them happiness?”
  • What would happen if we applied these principles in this year’s election?
  • Totally dig the implications of verses 13-16. Jesus really highlights how we should be a new creation by giving us ludicrous examples. I love it when Jesus resorts to hyperbole. Let’s build a huge city on a hill so no one will see it and turn on a light so we can cover it up so we can’t see.
  • If you think the existence of sin is debatable, consider this: we all repeat behavior that is bad for us, things we know are foolish.  These are usually things that go against our personal value system. This is as ridiculous as turning out the light when you’re trying to find your way, and it is a sign of how fallen our world is.
  • Sin sets us apart from the animals if you think about it . . . no animal would be so dumb as to do something that was knowingly bad for it.
  • It is so hard to be a new creature sometimes, and God is always there to show us grace.
  • After pointing out how we need to be a new creation, Jesus up and points out that it is impossible to do it!
  • Why must Jesus teaching be so frustrating sometimes!!?
  • I love this. I was actually discussing this with someone online today. The law that Jesus demands we follow can not be followed completely, and that makes God’s grace that much more valuable.
  • I am so messed up in so many ways, so this cuts deep. But Jesus is still there for me.
  • Jesus demands that we go the extra mile.
  • And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? OUCH!
  • This is one of the greatest, simplest arguments for what may seem illogical–loving our enemies. Any idiot will be kind to those who are good to them. It takes a real idiot to go out of there way and love their enemies.
  • Ok, kidding about the idiot part, but isn’t that how it feels sometimes? It is so counterintuitive to go the extra mile.

Man, I could go on and on, this is one of my favorite sections in the Bible, and maybe my favorite part in Matthew so far. It is such a great, confusing, confounding, and satisfying piece of text to digest.