Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 7

Today we see the conclusion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as far as the book of Matthew is concerned. We will revisit this sermon in the gospel of Luke, but today is Matthew's conclusion. The first passage of chapter 7 felt like a slap across the face this morning. This dealt with judging others and being held to the same standards we used to judge others. This is something I have been guilty of most of my life, and it seems as if it especially true of late. I have always been very exacting in my expectations of both myself and others. When I am working one of my character flaws is that I expect others I interact with to have the same work ethic and ability to follow directions that I have. I have little patience for those that don't read the directions or pay attention, but the unfortunate thing is that I am just as guilty as everyone else at times.

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2

It is a terrible attitude to have. Matthew's words this morning in chapter 7 are like a wakeup call, but unfortunately I have had that call before and have not learned the lesson. I see these words this morning and wonder what needs to be changed in me to finally understand this lesson. Since I am currently in a period of deep frustration in my life my old confrontational and uncompromising ways are starting to come out. In that, I am not heeding Matthew's words. Right now I feel as if that judgment is being measured out to me, and that I am powerless to change the course of this.

7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

This does not mean we will be given everything we want if we merely ask for it in prayer. If that were so, cash would be raining down upon me or I would magically know the numbers that will come up in tonight's Powerball drawing. What this is, is a promise guidance from the Holy Spirit. That guidance can take many forms, from subtle insights and nudges in the right direction on decision to just a general sense of peace. Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will always be with us, and if we allow it to affect our lives we will be guided toward the proper insight and direction it has for us.

28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. – Matthew 7:28-29

In the culture that Israel was during the first century, a statement like this was quite revolutionary. At the time the Pharisees held most of the power in Jewish society. To say that Jesus, who to them was nothing more than a simple carpenter from one of the lowliest parts of the country, spoke with authority that no one else had is a testament to the power of Christ's words. This sermon, which was the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, had to have blown people away. Think of the reaction like it was the mayor of a small, backwater town in the middle of nowhere running for President of the United States and captivating a crowd with his first speech. This was merely the beginning of Jesus changing the entire world.


  1. How do you judge others?
  2. How do you view the Holy Spirit's hand on your life?
  3. Why did Jesus gain the people's attention in this way?

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