TEACHINGS OF CHRIST ON CHRISTIANITY
From the Albert Barnes Bible Commentary
An old way back when…..commentary, still one of the best New Testament commentaries on the market - Keith Hunt
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. The word blessed means happy, referring to that which produces felicity, from whatever quarter it may come. Poor in spirit. Luke says simply, Blessed are THE POOR. It has been disputed whether Christ meant the poor in reference to the things of this life, or to the humble. The gospel is said to be preached to the poor, Lu. iv. 18; Mat. xi. 5. It was predicted that the Messiah would preach to the poor, Is. lxi. 1. It is said that they have peculiar facilities for being saved, Mat. xix. 23; Lu. xviii. 24. The state of such persons is therefore comparatively blessed, or happy. Riches produce care, anxiety, and dangers, and not the least is the danger of losing heaven by them. To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by the rich grace and mercy of God; to be willing to be where God places us, to bear what he lays on us, to go where he bids us, and to die when he commands; to be willing to be in his hands, and to feel that we deserve no favour from him. It is opposed to pride, and vanity, and ambition. Such are happy: 1st. Because there is more real enjoyment in thinking of ourselves as we are, than in being filled with pride and vanity. 2d. Because such Jesus chooses to bless, and on them he confers his favours here. 3d. Because theirs will be the kingdom of heaven hereafter. It is remarkable that Jesus began his ministry in this manner, so unlike all others. Other teachers had taught that happiness was to be found in honour, or riches, or splendour, or sensual pleasure. Jesus overlooked all those things, and fixed his eye on the poor and the humble, and said that happiness was to be found in the lowly vale of poverty more than in the pomp and splendors of life. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That is, either they have peculiar facilities for entering the kingdom of heaven, and of becoming Christians here, or they shall enter heaven hereafter. Both these ideas are probably included. A state of poverty—a state where we are despised or unhonoured by men—is a state where men are most ready to seek the comforts of religion here, and a home in the heavens hereafter. See Notes on ch. ii. 2.
IT IS VERY WRONG TO TEACH WE "GO TO HEAVEN" AT DEATH - THAT FALSE IDEA IS EXPOUNDED IN MANY STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
4. Blessed are they that mourn. This is capable of two meanings: either, that those are blessed who are afflicted with the loss of friends or possessions, or that they who mourn over sin are blessed. As Christ came to preach repentance, to induce men to mourn over their sins and to forsake them, it is probable that he had the latter particularly in view. Comp. 2 Cor. vii. 10. At the same time, it is true that the gospel only can give true comfort to those in affliction, Is. lxi. 1-3; Lu. iv. 18. Other sources of consolation do not reach the deep sorrows of the soul. They may blunt the sensibilities of the mind; they may produce a sullen and reluctant submission to what we cannot help; but they do not point to the true source of comfort. In the God of mercy only; in the Saviour; in the peace that flows from the hope of a better world, and there only, is there consolation, 2 Co. hi. 17, 18; v. 1. Those that mourn thus shall be comforted; So those that grieve over sin; that sorrow that they have committed it, and are afflicted and wounded that they have offended God, shall find comfort in the gospel. Through the merciful Saviour those sins may be forgiven. In him the weary and heavy-laden soul shall find peace (Mat. xi. 28-30); and the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, shall sustain them here (Jn. xiv. 26, 27), and in heaven all their tears shall be wiped away, Re. xxi. 4.
5. The meek. Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harboured vengeance. Christ insisted on his right when he said, "If I have done evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" Jn. xviii. 23. Paul asserted his right when he said, "They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay, verily; but let them come themselves, and fetch us out," Ac. xvi. 37. And yet Christ was the very model of meekness. It was one of his characteristics, "I am meek," Mat. xi. 29. So of Paul. No man endured more wrong, or endured it more patiently than he. Yet the Saviour and the apostle were not passionate. They bore all patiently. They did not press their rights through thick and thin, or trample down the rights of others to secure their own.
Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us. "Vengeance is his; he will repay," Ro. xii. 19.
Meekness produces peace. It is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled; that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like "the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." They shall inherit the earth. This might have been translated the land. It is probable that here is a reference to the manner in which the Jews commonly expressed themselves to denote any great blessing. It was promised to them that they should inherit the land of Canaan. For a long time the patriarchs looked forward to this, Ge. xv. 7, 8; Ex. xxxii. 13. They regarded it as a great blessing. It was so spoken of in the journey in the wilderness, and their hopes were crowned when they took possession of the promised land, De. i. 38; xvi. 20. In the time of our Saviour they were in the constant habit of using the Old Testament, where this promise perpetually occurs, and they used it as a proverbial expression to denote any great blessing, perhaps as the sum of all blessings, Ps. xxxvii. 20; Is. lx. 21. Our Saviour used it in this sense, and meant to say, not that the meek would own great property or have many lands, but that they would possess peculiar blessings. The Jews also considered the land of Canaan as a type of heaven, and of the blessings under the Messiah. To inherit the land became, therefore, an expression denoting those blessings. When our Saviour uses this language here, he means that the meek shall be received into his kingdom, and partake of its blessings here, and of the glories of the heavenly Canaan hereafter.—The value of meekness, even in regard to worldly property and success in life, is often exhibited in the Scriptures, Pr. xxii. 24, 25; xv. 1; xxv. 8, 15. It is also seen in common life that a meek, patient, mild man is the most prospered. An impatient and quarrelsome man raises up enemies; often loses property in lawsuits; spends his time in disputes and broils rather than in sober, honest industry; and is harassed, vexed, and unsuccessful in all that he does. "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," 1 Ti. iv. 8. Comp. 1 Ti. vi. 3-6.
A RATHER CONTRADICTORY THOUGHT, FOR IT IS ALSO TRUE MANY EVIL, UNRIGHTEOUS, PROFANE, PEOPLE HAVE WEALTH, AND LEAD A PLEASANT PHYSICAL LIFE. IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT THE RIGHTEOUS ARE OFTEN NOT BLESSED WITH PHYSICAL BLESSINGS, EVEN SUFFERING OTHER WRONGS, AND CAN GO THROUGH MUCH TROUBLES AND TRIBULATIONS…..THE APOSTLE PAUL IS ONE EXAMPLE. BARNES HERE MISSES A TRUTH OF THE BIBLE [AS DO JUST ABOUT ALL FUNDAMENTAL PROTESTANTS]….THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE LITERAL EARTH…..DURING THE 1,000 YEARS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD OVER ALL NATIONS, AND THEN INHERITING THE NEW EARTH FOR ALL ETERNITY - ALL FULLY EXPLAINED ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
6. Blessed are they which do hunger, etc. Hunger and thirst, here, are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we ought to feel to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. No wants are so keen, none so imperiously demand supply, as these. They occur daily, and when long continued, as in case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, Ps. xlii. 1,2; lxiii. 1, 2. A desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, Is. lv. 1, 2. They shall be filled. They shall be satisfied—as a hungry man is when supplied with food, or a thirsty man when supplied with drink. Those who are perishing for want of righteousness; those who feel that they are lost sinners and strongly desire to be holy, shall be thus satisfied. Never was there a desire to be holy which God was not willing to gratify, and the gospel of Christ has made provision to satisfy all who truly desire to be holy. See Is. lv. 1-3, and lxv. 13; Jn. iv. 14; vi. 35; vii. 37, 38; Ps. xvii. 15.
THE BIBLE DEFINITION FOR "RIGHTEOUSNESS" IS FOUND IN PSALM 119:172…..ALL GOD'S COMMANDMENTS ARE RIGHTEOUSNESS!! PSALM 1 HAS A VERY UP FRONT MESSAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS AND HOW TO BE WALKING WITH GOD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. SADLY IT IS FEW CHRISTIANS WHO ARE HUNGERING AND THIRSTING AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS. IN 2 THES 2, THOSE WHO DO NOT LOVE TRUTH, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, WILL PERISH. BUT HERE JESUS PROMISES THAT THOSE WHO DO HAVE THE MENTAL ATTITUDE OF HUNGERING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL BE FILLED, THEY WILL FIND WHAT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS AND WILL EMBRACE IT AS A MAN WALKING IN THE DESERT, SAY FOR TWO DAYS, WILL EMBRACE WATER GIVEN TO HIM - Keith Hunt
7. Blessed are the merciful. That is, those who are so affected by the sufferings of others as to be disposed to alleviate them. This is given as an evidence of piety, and it is said that they who show mercy to others shall obtain it. The same sentiment is found in Mat. x. 42: Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." See also Mat. xxv. 34-40. This should be done with a wish to glorify God; that is, in obedience to his commandments, and with a desire that he should be honoured, and with a feeling that we are benefiting one of his creatures. Then he will regard it as done to him, and will reward us. See the sentiment of this verse, that the merciful shall obtain mercy, more fully expressed in 2 Sa. xxii. 26, 27; and in Ps. xviii. 25, 26.
Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing mercy. In nothing does God more delight than in the exercise of mercy, Ex. xxxiv. 6; Eze. xxxiii. 11; 1 Ti. ii. 4; 2 Pe. iii. 9. To us, guilty sinners; to us, wretched, dying, and exposed to eternal woe, he has shown his mercy by giving his Son to die for us; by expressing his willingness to pardon and save us; and by sending his Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts. Each day of our life, each hour, and each moment, we partake of his undeserved mercy. All the blessings we enjoy are proofs of his mercy. If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty, it shows that we are like God. We have his spirit, and shall not lose our reward. And we have abundant opportunity to do it. Our world is full of guilt and woe, which we may help to relieve; and every day of our lives we have opportunity, by helping the poor and wretched, and by forgiving those who injure us, to show that we are like God. See Notes on ch. vi. 14, 15.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart. That is, whose minds, motives, and principles are pure; who seek not only to have the external actions correct, but who desire to be holy in heart, and who are so. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. They shall see God. There is a sense in which all will see God, Re. i. 7. That is, they will behold him as a Judge, not as a Friend. In this place it is spoken of as a peculiar favour. So also in Re. xxii. 4: "And they shall see his face." To see the face of one, or to be in the presence of any one, were terms among the Jews expressive of great favour. It was regarded as a high honour to be in the presence of kings and princes, and to be permitted to see them, Pr. xxii. 29: "He shall stand before kings." See also 2 Ki. xxv. 19: "Those that stood in the king's presence;" in the Hebrew, those that saw the face of the king; that is, who were his favourites and friends. So here, to see God, means to be his friends and favourites, and to dwell with him in his kingdom.
OH YES INDEED IT IS SO! Keith Hunt
9. Blessed are the peacemakers. Those who strive to prevent contention, strife, and war; who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent lawsuits and hostilities in families and neighbourhoods. Every man may do something of this; and no man is more like God than he who does it. There ought not to be unlawful and officious interference in that which is none of our business; but without any danger of acquiring this character, every man has many opportunities of reconciling opposing parties. Friends, neighbours, men of influence, lawyers, physicians, ministers of the gospel, may do much to promote peace. And it should be taken in hand in the beginning. "The beginning of strife," says Solomon, "is like the letting out of water." "An ounce of prevention," says the English proverb, "is worth a pound of cure." Long and most deadly quarrels might often be prevented by a little kind interference in the beginning. Children of God. See Notes on Mat. i. 1. Those who resemble God, or who manifest a spirit like his. He is the Author of peace (1 Co. xiv. 33); and all those who endeavour to promote peace are like him, and are worthy to be called his children.
AMEN….SO IT SHOULD BE - Keith Hunt
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted. To persecute means literally to pursue, follow after, as one does a fleeing enemy. Here it means to vex, or oppress one, on account of his religion. They persecute others who injure their names, reputation, property, or who endanger or take their life, on account of their religious opinions. For righteousness sake. Because they are righteous, or are the friends of God. We are not to seek persecution. We are not to provoke it by strange sentiments or conduct; by violating the laws of civil society, or by modes of speech that are unnecessarily offensive to others. But if, in the honest effort to be Christians, and to live the life of Christians, others persecute and revile us, we are to consider this as a blessing. It is an evidence that we are the children of God, and that he will defend us. "All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," 2 Ti. iii. 12. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They have evidence that they are Christians, and that they will be brought to heaven.
WELL NOT TO HEAVEN WHERE HEAVEN IS NOW, BUT BROUGHT TO CHRIST IN THE COULDS WHEN HE RETURNS, TO REIGN WITH HIM OVER THIS EARTH FOR 1,000 YEARS, AND TO BE WITH THE FATHER IN THE NEW EARTH, AND FOR ALL ETERNITY - ALL PROVED WITH STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
11. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you. Reproach you; call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are Christians. Thus they said of Jesus that he was a Samaritan and had a devil (Jn. viii. 48); that he was mad (Jn. x. 20); and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross, Mat. xxvii. 39-44. But, being reviled, he reviled not again (1 Pe. ii. 23); and thus being reviled, we should bless (1 Co. iv. 12); and thus, though the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, Phi. i. 29. All manner of evil against you falsely. An emphasis should be laid on the word falsely in this passage. It is not blessed to have evil spoken of us if we deserve it; but if we deserve it not, then we should not consider it as a calamity. We should take it patiently, and show how much the Christian, under the consciousness of innocence, can bear, 1 Pe. iii. 13-18. For my sake. Because you are attached to me; because you are Christians. We are not to seek such things. We are not to do things to offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and to court revilings. We are not to say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or offend. But if, in the faithful endeavour to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master Was, then we are to take it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner. When thus reviled or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry; not reviling again; but endeavouring to do good to our persecutors and slanderers, 2 Ti. ii. 24, 25. In this way many have been convinced of the power and excellence of that religion which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted; and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. Long since it became a proverb, "that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
YES CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A FIGHTING, BRAWLING GAME, IT IS NOT A "PUT ON YOUR BOXING GLOVES AND LET'S GO TO IT" MENTALITY, WHEN UNDER PERSECUTION AND REVILEMENT - Keith Hunt
12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. Regard it as a great privilege thus to be persecuted and to suffer—a thing not to be mourned over, but as among the chief blessings of life. For great is your reward in heaven. That is, your reward will be great in the future world. To those who suffer most, God imparts the highest rewards. Hence the crown of martyrdom has been thought to be the brightest that any of the redeemed shall wear; and hence many of the early Christians sought to become martyrs, and threw themselves in the way of their persecutors, that they might be put to death. They literally rejoiced, and leaped for joy, at the prospect of death for the sake of Jesus. Though God does not require us to seek persecution, yet all this shows that there is something in religion to sustain the soul which the world does not possess. Nothing but the consciousness of innocence, and the presence of God, could bear up the sufferers in the midst of these trials; and the flame, therefore, kindled to consume the martyr, has also been a bright light, showing the truth and power of the gospel of Jesus. The prophets, etc. The holy men who came to predict future events, and who were the religious teachers of the Jews. For an account of their persecution, see He. xi.
INDEED, AS HEBREWS 11 SHOWS MANY HAVE DIED UNDER PERSECUTION FOR GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HIS WAY OF LIFE; IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD IT IS STILL TAKING PLACE; AT THE VERY END [THE LAST 42 MONTHS OF THIS AGE] MANY WILL AGAIN FACE GREAT PERSECUTION FOR THE TRUTH OF GOD, AND SOME WILL NEEDS HAVE TO BE SLAIN FOR THE WORD OF GOD - Keith Hunt
13. Ye are the salt of the earth. Salt renders food pleasant and palatable, and preserves from putrefaction. So Christians, by their lives and instructions, are to keep the world from entire moral corruption. By bringing down the blessing of God in answer to their prayers, and by their influence and example, they save the world from universal vice and crime. Salt have lost its savour. That is, if it has become tasteless, or has lost its preserving properties. The salt used in this country is a chemical compound—chloride of sodium—and if the saltness were lost, or it were to lose its savour, there would be nothing remaining. It enters into the very nature of the substance. In eastern countries, however, the salt used was impure, or mingled with vegetable or earthy substances, so that it might lose the whole of its saltness, and a considerable quantity of earthy matter remain. This was good for nothing, except that it was used to place in paths, or walks, as we use gravel. This kind of salt is common still in that country. It is found in the earth in veins or layers, and when exposed to the sun and rain, loses its saltness entirely. Maundrell says, "I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour. The inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained its savour, as I found by proof."
So Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 43, 44) says, "I have often seen just such salt, and the identical disposition of it that our Lord has mentioned. A merchant of Sidon having farmed of the government the revenue from the importation of salt, brought over an immense quantity from the marshes of Cyprus—enough, in fact, to supply the whole province for at least twenty years. This he had transferred to the mountains, to cheat the government out of some small percentage. Sixty-five houses in June — Lady Stanhope's village—were rented and filled with salt. These houses have merely earthen floors, and the salt next to the ground, in a few years, entirely spoiled. I saw large quantities of it literally thrown into the street, to be trodden under foot of men and beasts. It was 'good for nothing.' It should be stated in this connection that the salt used in this country is not manufactured by boiling clean salt water, nor quarried from mines, but is obtained from marshes along the sea-shore, as in Cyprus, or from salt lakes in the interior, which dry up in summer, as the one in the desert north of Palmyra, and the great lake of Jebbul, south-east of Aleppo. Maundrell, who visited the lake at Jebbul, tells us that he found salt there which had entirely 'lost its savour,' and the same abounds among the debris at Usdum, and in other localities of rock-salt at the south end of the Dead Sea. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that the salt of this country, when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun, does become insipid and useless. From the manner in which it is gathered, much earth and other impurities are necessarily collected with it. Not a little of it is so impure that it cannot be used at all, and such salt soon effloresces and turns to dust—not to fruitful soil, however. It is not only good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility wherever it is thrown; and this is the reason why it is cast into the street. There is a sort of verbal verisimilitude in the manner in which our Lord alludes to the act: 'it is cast out' and 'trodden under foot;' so troublesome is this corrupted salt, that it is carefully swept up, carried forth, and thrown into the street. There is no place about the house, yard, or garden where it can be tolerated. No man will allow it to be thrown on to his field, and the only place for it is the street, and there it is cast to be trodden under foot of men."
14. The light of the world. The light of the world often denotes the sun, Jn. xi. 9. The sun renders objects visible, shows their form, their nature, their beauties, their deformities. The term light is often applied to religious teachers. See Mat. iv. 16; Lu. ii. 32; Jn. i. 4; viii. 12; Is. xlix. 6. It is pre-eminently applied to Jesus in these places, because he is, in the moral world, what the sun is in the natural world. The apostles, Christian ministers, and all Christians, are lights of the world, because they, by their instructions and example, show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the way of duty, peace, and happiness—the way that leads to heaven.
A city that is set on a hill, etc. Many of the cities of Judea were placed on the summits or sides of mountains, and could be seen from afar. Perhaps Jesus pointed to such a city, and told his disciples that they were like it. Their actions could not be hid. The eyes of the world were upon them. They must be seen; and as this was the case, they ought to be holy, harmless, and undefiled. Maundrell, Jowett, and others suppose that the Sermon on the Mount was delivered in the vicinity of the present city of Safed, or "the Horns of Huttin" (see Notes on ver. 1), and that this city may have been in his eye, and may have been directly referred to by the Saviour when he uttered this sentiment. It would give additional force and beauty to the passage to suppose that he pointed to the city. Of this Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 420, 421) says, "The shape of the hill is a well-described oval, and the wall corresponds to it. The bottom of the outer ditch is now a very flourishing vineyard, and the entire circuit is not far from half a mile. The wall is mostly modern, but built on one more ancient, portions of which can be seen on the east side. The interior summit rises about a hundred feet higher than this wall, and was a separate castle, strongly defended. Here are bevelled stones, as heavy, and as aged in appearance, as those of the most celebrated ruins in the country; and they prove that this has been a place of importance from a remote age. These ancient parts of the castle render it all but certain that there was then a city or citadel on this most conspicuous 'hill' top; and our Lord might well point to it to illustrate and confirm his precept. The present Hebrew name is Zephath, and may either refer to its elevation like a watch-tower, or to the beauty and grandeur of the surrounding prospects. Certainly they are quite sufficient to suggest the name. There lies Gennesaret, like a mirror set in framework of dark mountains and many-faced hills. Beyond is the vast plateau of the Hauran, faintly shading with its rocky ranges the utmost horizon eastward. Thence the eye sweeps over Gilead and Bashan, Samaria and Carmel, the plains of Galilee, the coasts of Phoenicia, the hills of Naphtali, the long line of Lebanon, and the lofty head of Hermon—a vast panorama, embracing a thousand points of historic and sacred interest."
15. Neither do men light a candle, etc. The word rendered candle means any portable light, as a lamp, candle, lantern. Comp. Mar. iv. 21; Lu. viii. 16; xii. 35. Jesus proceeded here to show them that the very reason why they were enlightened was that others might also see the light, and be benefited by it. When men light a candle, they do not conceal the light, but place it where it may be of use. So it is with religion. It is given that we may benefit others. It is not to be concealed, but suffered to show itself, and to shed light on a surrounding wicked world. A bushel. Greek, a measure containing nearly a peck. It denotes anything, here, that might conceal the light.
16. Let your light so shine, etc. Let your holy life, your pure conversation, and your faithful instructions, be every where seen and known. Always, in all societies, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity, let it be seen that you are real Christians. That they may see your good works. The proper motive to influence us is not simply that we may be seen (comp. ch. vi. 1), but it should be that our heavenly Father may be glorified. The Pharisees acted to be seen of men; true Christians act to glorify God, and care little what men may think of them, except as by their conduct others may be brought to honour God, yet they should so live that men may see from their conduct what is the proper nature of their religion. Glorify your Father. Praise, or honour God, or be led to worship him. Seeing in your lives the excellency of religion, and the power and purity of the gospel, they may be won to be Christians also, and give praise and glory to God for his mercy to a lost world.
We learn here, 1. That religion, if it exist, cannot be concealed. 2. That where it is not manifest in the life, it does not exist. 3. That professors of religion, who live like other men, give evidence that they have never been truly converted. 4. That to attempt to conceal or hide our Christian knowledge or experience is to betray our trust, injure the cause of piety, and to render our lives useless. And, 5. That good actions will be seen, and will lead men to honour God. If we have no other way of doing good—if we are poor, and unlearned, and unknown— yet we may do good by our lives. No sincere and humble Christian lives in vain. The feeblest light at midnight is of use.
"How far the little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world !"
17. Think not that I am come, etc. Our Saviour was just entering on his work. It was important for him to state what he came to do. By his setting up to be a teacher in opposition to the scribes and Pharisees, some might charge him with an intention to destroy their law, and to abolish the customs of the nation. He therefore told them that he did not come for that end, but really to fulfil or accomplish what was in the law and the prophets. To destroy. To abrogate; to deny their divine authority; to set men free from the obligation to obey them. The law. The five books of Moses called the law. See Notes on Lu. xxiv. 44. The prophets. The books which the prophets wrote. These two divisions here seem to comprehend the Old Testament, and Jesus says that he came not to do away or destroy the authority of the Old Testament. But to fulfil. To complete the design; to fill up what was predicted; to accomplish what was intended in them. The word fulfil also means sometimes to teach or inculcate, Col. i. 25. The law of Moses contained many sacrifices and rites which were designed to shadow forth the Messiah. See Notes on He. ix. These were fulfilled when he came and offered himself a sacrifice to God,
* A sacrifice of nobler name, And richer blood than they."
The prophets contained many predictions respecting his coming and death. These were all to be fulfilled and fully accomplished by his life and his sufferings.
18. Verily. Truly, certainly. A word of strong affirmation. Till heaven and earth pass. This expression denotes that the law never would be destroyed till it should be all fulfilled. It is the same as saying everything else may change; the very earth and heaven may pass away, but the law of God shall not be destroyed till its whole design has been accomplished. One jot. The word jot, or yod—'—is the name of the Hebrew letter I, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. One tittle. The word here used, in the Greek, means literally a little horn, then a point, an extremity. Several of the Hebrew letters were written with small points or apices, as in the letter[Hebrew given]—to—which serve to distinguish one letter from another. To change a small point of one letter, therefore, might vary the meaning of a word, and destroy the sense. The name "little horn" was given to these points probably from the manner in which they were written, resembling a little horn. Professor Hackett says of a manuscript which he saw a Jew transcribing: "One peculiarity, that struck me at once as I cast my eye over the parchment, was the horn-like appearance attached to some of the letters. I had seen the same mark, before this, in Hebrew manuscripts, but never where it was so prominent as here. The sign in question, as connected with the Hebrew Letter Lamedh in particular, had almost the appearance of an intentional imitation of a ram's head. It was to that appendage of the Hebrew letters that the Saviour referred when he said, 'Not one jot or little horn' (as the Greek term signifies, which our version renders 'tittle,') 'shall pass from the law until all be fulfilled.'"—Illustrations of Scripture, p. 234. Hence the Jews were exceedingly cautious in writing those letters, and considered the smallest change or omission a reason for destroying the whole manuscript when they were transcribing the Old Testament. The expression, "one jot or tittle," became proverbial, and means that the smallest part of the law should not be destroyed.
SO JESUS DID NOT "DO AWAY" WITH ANY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES. NOT ONE POINT WOULD BE ABOLISHED. SO HOW THEN DO WE DO AS JESUS TAUGHT, THAT MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD [MATT. 4:4]? I HAVE A TWO PART IN-DEPTH STUDY ON THAT VERY QUESTION, CALLED "LIVING BY EVERY WORD OF GOD - HOW?" IT'S ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
The laws of the Jews are commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things, and which cannot, therefore, be changed —such as the duty of loving God and his creatures. These cannot be abolished, as it can never be made right to hate God, or to hate our fellow-men. Of this kind are the ten commandments, and these our Saviour has neither abolished nor superseded.
NOTE THIS BY ALBERT BARNES…… THE TEN COMMANDMENTS HAVE NEVER BEEN ABOLISHED!! BACK IN BARNES' DAY THE 4TH COMMANDMENT, THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT, WAS NEVER THOUGHT TO BE "DONE AWAY WITH" - YES MOST THEOLOGIANS BACK THEN TAUGHT SUNDAY WAS THE SABBATH, AND SO OBSERVED IT AS SABBATH. EVEN THE WHOLE SOCIETY CAME TO BASICALLY STOP WORK AND SPORTS PLEASURE ON SUNDAY, BUSINESSES CLOSED, STORES CLOSED, DOWN TOWN AREAS BECAME LIKE GHOST TOWN. NOW THEY HAD THE WRONG DAY, THEY WERE DOING IT ALL ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE ON THE 7TH DAY OF THE WEEK. THE SABBATH TOPIC IS COVERED IN GREAT DETAIL ON THIS WEBSITE UNDER "SABBATH AND FEASTS OF GOD" - Keith Hunt
—The ceremonial laws are such as are appointed to meet certain states of society, or to regulate the religious rites and ceremonies of a people. These can be changed when circumstances are changed, and yet the moral law be untouched. A general in an army may command his soldiers to appear sometimes in a red coat and sometimes in blue or in yellow. This would be a ceremonial law, and might be changed as he pleased. The duty of obeying him, and of being faithful to his country, could not be changed. This is a moral law. A parent might suffer his children to have fifty different dresses at different times, and love them equally in all. The dress is a mere matter of ceremony, and may be changed. The child, in all these garments, is bound to love and obey his father. This is a moral law, and cannot be changed. So the laws of the Jews. Those designed to regulate mere matters of ceremony and rites of worship might be changed. Those requiring love and obedience to God and love to men could not be changed, and Christ did not attempt it, Mat. xix. 19; xxii. 37-39; Lu. x. 27; Eo. xiii. 9.—A third species of law was the judicial, or those laws regulating courts of justice which are contained in the Old Testament. These were of the nature of the ceremonial law, and might also be changed at pleasure. The judicial law of the Hebrews was adapted to their own civil society. When the form of their polity was changed this was of course no longer binding. The ceremonial law was fulfilled by the coming of Christ: the shadow was lost in the substance, and ceased to be binding. The moral law was confirmed and unchanged.
YES, BARNES AND OTHERS LIKE HIM, HAD NO QUESTION BACK THEN, THAT THE MORAL LAW OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS REMAINED IN EFFECT. THEY JUST, MAYBE SINCERE [YOU CAN BE SINCERE BUT SINCERELY WRONG], HAD THE SABBATH DAY COMMAND ON THE WRONG DAY - Keith Hunt
19. Whosoever therefore shall break. Shall violate or disobey. One of these least commandments. The Pharisees, it is probable, divided the precepts of the law into lesser and greater, teaching that they who violated the former were guilty of a trivial offence only. See Mat. xxiii. 23. Christ teaches that in his kingdom they who make this distinction, or who taught that any laws of God might be violated with impunity, should be called least; while they should be held in high regard who observed all the laws of God without distinction. Shall be called least. That is, shall be least. See ver. 9. The meaning of this passage seems to be this: in the kingdom of heaven, that is, in the kingdom of the Messiah, or in the church which he is about to establish (see Notes on Mat. iii. 2), he that breaks the least of these commandments shall be in no esteem, or shall not be regarded as a proper religious teacher. The Pharisees, by dividing the law into greater and lesser precepts, made no small part of it void by their traditions and divisions, Mat. xxiii. 23; xv. 3-6. Jesus says that in his kingdom all this vain division and tradition would cease. Such divisions and distinctions would be a small matter. He that attempted it should be the least of all. Men would be engaged in yielding obedience to all the law of God without any such vain distinctions. Shall be called great. He that teaches that all the law of God is binding, and that the whole of it should be obeyed, without attempting to specify what is most important, shall be a teacher worthy of his office, and shall be called great.
We learn hence, 1. That all the law of God is binding on Christians. Comp. Ja. ii. 10. 2. That all the commands of God should be preached, in their proper place, by Christian ministers. 3. That they who pretend that there are any laws of God so small that they need not obey them, are unworthy of his kingdom. And, 4. That true piety has respect to all the commandments of God. Comp. Ps. cxix. 6.
YES THAT SAYS IT WITHOUT ANY PUNCHES PULLED FROM ALBERT BARNES….. HE HAD IT RIGHT ON THE NOSE - Keith Hunt
20. Your righteousness. Your holiness; your views of the nature of righteousness, and your conduct and lives. Unless you are more holy than they are, you cannot be saved. Shall exceed. Shall excel, or abound more. The righteousness of true Christians is seated in the heart, and is therefore genuine. Jesus means that unless they had more real holiness of character than the scribes and Pharisees, they could not be saved. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. See Notes on ch. iii. 7. Their righteousness consisted in outward observances of the ceremonial and traditional law. They offered sacrifices, fasted often, prayed much, were punctilious about ablutions, and tithes, and the ceremonies of religion, but neglected justice, truth, purity, and holiness of heart. See Mat. xxiii. 13-33. The righteousness that Jesus required in his kingdom was purity, chastity, honesty, temperance, the fear of God, and the love of man. It is pure, eternal, reaching the motives, and making the life holy. The kingdom of heaven. See Notes on ch. iii. 2. Shall not be a fit subject of his kingdom here, or saved in the world to come.
SURPRISINGLY A BIBLE SCHOLAR LIKE BARNES DID NOT GIVE HIS READERS THE BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF "RIGHTEOUSNESS" - BUT I WILL GIVE IT TO YOU - PSALM 119:172……READ IT….MARK IT. IF SOME QUESTION ALL THIS AND SAY "IS NOT THIS A TEACHING OF SALVATION BY WORKS?" WELL FIRST….. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CHRIST, HE SAID IT ALL NOT ME. SECOND - STUDY MY STUDY ON THIS WEBSITE CALLED "SAVED BY GRACE" AND YOU CAN COME TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER - Keith Hunt