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The Gospel According to Matthew Chapters 6-10

A prayer from the Book of Common Worship, to use before your reading,

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you:” Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Outline and Commnetary of This Week’s Reading From the Gospel of Matthew Chapters 6-10

6:1-18 Living Justly, Practicing PietyJesus begins this section of his teaching with a thesis statement summarizing his point: Do your righteousness for God to see you, not others (6:1). Jesus then illustrates his point with the examples of secret charity (vv. 2-4), prayer (vv. 5-15) and fasting (vv. 16-18). The middle section on prayer is the longest (following accepted practices of arrangement in his day, Matthew may have inserted the Lord’s Prayer from a different context; compare Lk 11:1-4).

6:19-34 Justice and Materialism: Jesus exhorts us not to value possessions enough to seek them (6:19-24), quite in contrast to today’s prosperity preachers and most of Western society. Yet he also exhorts us not to value possessions enough to worry about them (vv. 25-34), a fault shared by most believers who rightly reject the prosperity teaching. Jesus’ words strike at the core of human selfishness, challenging both the well-to-do who have possessions to guard and the poor who wish they could acquire them. His words are so uncomfortable that even those of us who say we love him and fight to defend Scripture’s authority find ourselves looking for ways around what he says.

7:1-6 On Judging: A Community of Compassionate Correction, Not Condemnation:The rest of the Sermon on the Mount does not fit into a tightly knit structure beyond the level of the individual paragraphs; some elements (such as 7:6) are actually difficult to fit into their context! This reminds us how important Jesus’ teachings are to Matthew. Even though Matthew carefully organizes most of his material, he wants us to know all of Jesus’ teachings, even when he cannot fit them into the structure of his argument.

 Nevertheless, Matthew continues to arrange Jesus’ teaching in a relevant, pastoral way for his readers. Just as outward acts of righteousness can be misleading (6:1-18), we should avoid any external evaluations of individuals (7:1-5) and certainly should not trust all religious claims (7:15-23). Jesus’ promise concerning prayer (7:7-11) expands his earlier discussion of private prayer (6:5-15) and seeking the kingdom first (6:32-33). (NIV obscures the flow of thought by translating the first “seek” as run after; that Greek term can be stronger, but in this context it contrasts with the closely related term in the next verse.) Jesus’ admonition to self-examination (7:1-5), warning that few will enter God’s kingdom (vv. 13-14), observation that one’s behavior reveals one’s character (vv. 15-20) and caution that our lives and not just lips must acknowledge Christ (vv. 21-23) suitably climax in his final warning that only those who obey his teaching will endure the judgment (vv. 24-27).

7:7-11 Seeking God in Life and Prayer

7:12 The Golden Rule

7:13-27 Eschatological Scenes

7:28-29 The Crowd’s Response to the Sermon

C. Mighty in Word and Deed 8:1-9:38:

JESUS RULES NATURE-AND DISCIPLES

After completing Jesus’ sermon, Matthew begins recounting signs reported in Mark and some other source(s) Matthew shares with Luke. Matthew arranges these accounts about Jesus’ authority in a special way. Many scholars count ten specific miracles in this section, some emphasizing the view that this points to the ten signs of a new Moses (Teeple 1957:82). Others emphasize the whole narrative’s structure: because two of the miracles appear in one miracle story, Matthew narrates a total of nine miracle stories, which break into sets of three, separated by blocks of Jesus’ teaching (Meier 1979:67 and 1980:80). Matthew 8:1-17 shows Jesus’ authority over sickness; 8:23-28 shows his authority over nature, demons and paralysis; and 9:18-34 demonstrates his authority over disabilities and death.

Whereas these narratives demonstrate how much authority Jesus has in creation, the intervening paragraphs teach that we humans should also acknowledge Jesus’ rightful authority over us (8:18-22; 9:9-17). The concluding summary of miracles (9:35) also contains another declaration of Christ’s authority: we must ask the Lord to send out workers to demonstrate Jesus’ authority over these needs (9:36-37). That final summary section (9:35-38), like the one preceding the Sermon on the Mount (4:23-25), could also be classified (with 10:1-5) as the narrative introduction for the discourse that follows in chapter 10.

Whereas these narratives demonstrate how much authority Jesus has in creation, the intervening paragraphs teach that we humans should also acknowledge Jesus’ rightful authority over us (8:18-22; 9:9-17). The concluding summary of miracles (9:35) also contains another declaration of Christ’s authority: we must ask the Lord to send out workers to demonstrate Jesus’ authority over these needs (9:36-37). That final summary section (9:35-38), like the one preceding the Sermon on the Mount (4:23-25), could also be classified (with 10:1-5) as the narrative introduction for the discourse that follows in chapter 10.

8:1-4 Healing of a Leper

8:5-13 Healing of Centurion’s Servant

8:14-17 Healing of Peter’s Mother in Law and Many Others

8:18-22 Would be Followers: Costly Discipleship

8:23-27 Stilling of a Storm: Stormy Discipleship and Jesus‘ Authority

8:28-34 Jesus Casts Out Demons

9:1-8 Jesus Heals and Forgives a Paralyzed Man

9:9-13 Jesus Calls Matthew and a Dinner Party

9:14-17 Question about Fasting: With all this Feasting, what about Fasting?

9:18-26 Jesus Heals a Ruler’s Daughter and a Woman

9:27-31 Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

9:32-34 Jesus Exorcises a Mute Demoniac

9:35-38 Summary: Jesus Many Miracles and Compassion

D.  The Missionary Discourse: The Second Discourse 10:1-42:

PROCLAIMING THE KINGDOM

Matthew explains the ethics of the kingdom (Mt 5-7), relationships in the kingdom (13), and the presence (13) and future (23-25) of the kingdom; but he does so to disciples whom he expects to further propagate the message of the kingdom (10). Just as Jesus carries on John’s message (3:2; 4:17), so will his disciples carry on his (10:7; 28:19). His followers must carry on his mission of healing (9:35) because the laborers are so few (9:37). Matthew records the words of Jesus in this chapter, like those in the Sermon on the Mount, not for merely historical interest but to encourage fellow disciples in the period between the first and second comings of Jesus.

10:1-4 Twelve Apostles Chosen: Call and Commission of an Alternative Community

10:5-15 Four Aspects of the Mission

10:16-23 The Hardship of Mission: Inevitable Persecution

10:24-42 The Courage, Impact, and Reward of Faithful Mission

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