Matthew Chapter 5 – The Deity Of Christ

Matthew Chapter 5 – The Deity Of Christ

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Key Verse

Matthew 5:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.


Geneva Study Bible

Christ did not come to bring any new way of righteousness and salvation into the world, but indeed to fulfil that which was shadowed by the figures of the Law, by delivering men through grace from the curse of the Law: and moreover to teach the true use of obedience which the Law appointed, and to engrave in our hearts the power for obedience; that the prophecies may be accomplished.

Study Text

Matthew 5 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Beatitudes

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Believers Are Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Marriage Is Sacred and Binding

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Jesus Forbids Oaths

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Go the Second Mile

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Study Notes

5:1—7:29 The Sermon on the Mount introduces a series of 5 important discourses recorded in Matthew (see Introduction: Historical and Theological Themes). This sermon is a masterful exposition of the law and a potent assault on Pharisaic legalism, closing with a call to true faith and salvation (7:13–29). Christ expounded the full meaning of the law, showing that its demands were humanly impossible (cf. 5:48). This is the proper use of the law with respect to salvation: It closes off every possible avenue of human merit and leaves sinners dependent on nothing but divine grace for salvation (cf. Rom. 3:19, 20; Gal. 3:23, 24). Christ plumbed the depth of the law, showing that its true demands went far beyond the surface meaning of the words (5:28, 39, 44) and set a standard that is higher than the most diligent students of the law had heretofore realized (5:20). See note on Luke 6:17–49.
5:1 was seated. This was the normal posture for rabbis while teaching (cf. 13:1, 2; 26:55; Mark 4:1; 9:35; Luke 5:3; John 6:3; 8:2). See note on Luke 4:20.
5:3 Blessed. The word lit. means “happy, fortunate, blissful.” Here it speaks of more than a surface emotion. Jesus was describing the divinely-bestowed well-being that belongs only to the faithful. The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness. The worldly idea is that happiness is found in riches, merriment, abundance, leisure, and such things. The real truth is the very opposite. The Beatitudes give Jesus’ description of the character of true faith. poor in spirit. The opposite of self-sufficiency. This speaks of the deep humility of recognizing one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God. It describes those who are acutely conscious of their own lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace (cf. 9:12; Luke 18:13). See note on 19:17. theirs is the kingdom of heaven. See note on 3:2. Notice that the truth of salvation by grace is clearly presupposed in this opening verse of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching that the kingdom is a gracious gift to those who sense their own poverty of spirit.
5:4 those who mourn. This speaks of mourning over sin, the godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation without regret (2 Cor. 7:10). The “comfort” is the comfort of forgiveness and salvation (cf. Is. 40:1, 2).
5:5 the meek. Meekness is the opposite of being out of control. It is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:23). The fact that “the meek shall inherit the earth” is quoted from Ps. 37:11.
5:6 hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is the opposite of the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. It speaks of those who seek God’s righteousness rather than attempting to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9). What they seek will fill them, i.e., it will satisfy their hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God.
5:7 they shall obtain mercy. The converse is also true. Cf. James 2:13.
5:8 see God. Not only with the perception of faith, but in the glory of heaven. Cf. Heb. 12:14; Rev. 22:3, 4.
5:9 peacemakers. See vv. 44, 45 for more on this quality.
5:10 persecuted. Cf. James 5:10, 11; 1 Pet. 4:12–14. See note on Luke 6:22.
5:13 if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? Salt is both a preservative and a flavor enhancer. No doubt its use as a preservative is what Jesus had mostly in view here. Pure salt cannot lose its flavor or effectiveness, but the salt that is common in the Dead Sea area is contaminated with gypsum and other minerals and may have a flat taste or be ineffective as a preservative. Such mineral salts were useful for little more than keeping footpaths free of vegetation.
5:16 light so shine. A godly life gives convincing testimony of the saving power of God. That brings Him glory. Cf. 1 Pet. 2:12.
5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. Jesus was neither giving a new law nor modifying the old, but rather explaining the true significance of the moral content of Moses’ law and the rest of the OT. “The Law and the Prophets” speaks of the entirety of the OT Scriptures, not the rabbinical interpretations of them. fulfill. This speaks of fulfillment in the same sense that prophecy is fulfilled. Christ was indicating that He is the fulfillment of the law in all its aspects. He fulfilled the moral law by keeping it perfectly. He fulfilled the ceremonial law by being the embodiment of everything the law’s types and symbols pointed to. And He fulfilled the judicial law by personifying God’s perfect justice (cf. 12:18, 20).
5:18 till heaven and earth pass away…till all is fulfilled. Here Christ was affirming the utter inerrancy and absolute authority of the OT as the Word of God—down to the least jot and tittle. Again (see note on v. 17), this suggests that the NT should not be seen as supplanting and abrogating the OT, but as fulfilling and explicating it. For example, all the ceremonial requirements of the Mosaic law were fulfilled in Christ and are no longer to be observed by Christians (Col. 2:16, 17). Yet not one jot or tittle is thereby erased; the underlying truths of those Scriptures remain—and in fact the mysteries behind them are now revealed in the brighter light of the gospel. one jot or one tittle. A “jot” refers to the smallest Heb. letter, the yohd, which is a meager stroke of the pen, like an accent mark or an apostrophe. The “tittle” is a tiny extension on a Heb. letter, like the serif in modern typefaces.
5:19 shall be called least…shall be called great. The consequence of practicing or teaching disobedience of any of God’s Word is to be called least in the kingdom of heaven (see note on James 2:10). Determining rank in the kingdom of heaven is entirely God’s prerogative (cf. Matt. 20:23), and Jesus declares that He will hold those in lowest esteem who hold His Word in low esteem. There is no impunity for believers who disobey, discredit, or belittle God’s law (see note on 2 Cor. 5:10). That Jesus does not refer to loss of salvation is clear from the fact that, though offenders will be called least, they will still be in the kingdom of heaven. The positive result is that whoever keeps and teaches God’s Word, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Here again Jesus mentions the two aspects of doing and teaching. Kingdom citizens are to uphold every part of God’s law both in their living and in their teaching.
5:20 unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. On the one hand, Jesus was calling His disciples to a deeper, more radical holiness than that of the Pharisees. Pharisaism had a tendency to soften the law’s demands by focusing only on external obedience. In the verses that follow, Jesus unpacks the full moral significance of the law, and shows that the righteousness the law calls for actually involves an internal conformity to the spirit of the law, rather than mere external compliance to the letter. will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, this sets up an impossible barrier to works-salvation. Scripture teaches repeatedly that sinners are capable of nothing but a flawed and imperfect righteousness (e.g., Is. 64:6). Therefore the only righteousness by which sinners may be justified is the perfect righteousness of God that is imputed to those who believe (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5).
5:21, 22 You have heard…. But I say to you. See vv. 27, 31, 33, 38, 43. The quotes are from Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17. Jesus was not altering the terms of the law in any of these passages. Rather, He was correcting what they had “heard”—the rabbinical understanding of the law (see note on v. 38).
5:22 Raca! Lit. “Empty-headed!” Jesus suggested here that the verbal abuse stems from the same sinful motives (anger and hatred) that ultimately lead to murder. The internal attitude is what the law actually prohibits, and therefore an abusive insult carries the same kind of moral guilt as an act of murder. hell. A reference to the Hinnom Valley, SW of Jerusalem. Ahaz and Manasseh permitted human sacrifices there during their reigns (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6), and therefore it was called “The Valley of Slaughter” (Jer. 19:6). In Jesus’ day, it was a garbage dump where fires burned continually and was thus an apt symbol of eternal fire.
5:25 Agree…quickly. Jesus calls for reconciliation to be sought eagerly, aggressively, quickly—even if it involves self-sacrifice. It is better to be wronged than to allow a dispute between brethren to be a cause for dishonoring Christ (1 Cor. 6:7). adversary. This speaks of one’s opponent in a law case. prison. Debtor’s prison, where the person could work to earn back what he had defrauded.
5:27 Quoted from Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18.
5:29 pluck it out and cast it from you. Jesus was not advocating self-mutilation (for this would not in fact cure lust, which is actually a problem of the heart). He was using this graphic hyperbole to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire. The point is that it would be “more profitable” (v. 30) to lose a member of one’s own body than to bear the eternal consequences of the guilt from such a sin. Sin must be dealt with drastically because of its deadly effects.
5:31 it has been said. See note on Deut. 24:1–4. The rabbis had taken liberty with what Scripture actually said. They referred to Deut. 24:1–4 as if it were given merely to regulate the paperwork when one sought divorce (see note on 19:7). Thus, they had wrongly concluded that men could divorce their wives for anything that displeased them, as long as they gave “a certificate of divorce.” But Moses provided this as a concession to protect the woman who was divorced (see notes on 19:7–9), not to justify or legalize divorce under all circumstances.
5:32 except sexual immorality. See note on 19:9. Divorce was allowed in cases of adultery. Luke 16:18 must be understood in the light of this verse. causes her to commit adultery. The assumption is that divorced people will remarry. If the divorce was not for sexual immorality, any remarriage is adultery, because God does not acknowledge the divorce. For more on divorce, see note on 1 Cor. 7:15.
5:33 You shall not swear falsely. This expresses teaching from Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21, 23.
5:34 do not swear at all. Cf. James 5:12. This should not be taken as a universal condemnation of oaths in all circumstances. God Himself confirmed a promise with an oath (Heb. 6:13–18; cf. Acts 2:30). Christ Himself spoke under oath (26:63, 64). And the law prescribed oaths in certain circumstances (e.g., Num. 5:19, 21; 30:2, 3). What Christ is forbidding here is the flippant, profane, or careless use of oaths in everyday speech. In that culture, such oaths were often employed for deceptive purposes. To make the person being victimized believe the truth was being told, the Jews would swear by “heaven,” “earth,” “Jerusalem,” or their own “heads” (vv. 34–36), not by God, hoping to avoid divine judgment for their lie. But it all was in God’s creation, so it drew Him in and produced guilt before Him, exactly as if the oath were made in His name. Jesus suggested that all our speech should be as if we were under an oath to tell the truth (v. 37).
5:38 An eye for an eye. The law did establish this standard as a principle for limiting retribution to that which was just (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). Its design was to insure that the punishment in civil cases fit the crime. It was never meant to sanction acts of personal retaliation. So again (see notes on vv. 17, 18) Jesus made no alteration to the true meaning of the law. He was merely explaining and affirming the law’s true meaning.
5:39 not to resist an evil person. Like v. 38, this deals only with matters of personal retaliation, not criminal offenses or acts of military aggression. Jesus applied this principle of non-retaliation to affronts against one’s dignity (v. 39), lawsuits to gain one’s personal assets (v. 40), infringements on one’s liberty (v. 41), and violations of property rights (v. 42). He was calling for a full surrender of all personal rights.
5:41 compels. The word speaks of coercion or force. The NT picture of this is when Roman soldiers “compelled” Simon the Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross (27:32).
5:43 love your neighbor and hate your enemy. The first half of this is found in Moses’ law (Lev. 19:18). The second part was found in how the scribes and Pharisees explained and applied that OT command. Jesus’ application was exactly the opposite, resulting in a much higher standard: Love for one’s neighbors should extend even to those neighbors who are enemies (v. 44). Again, this was no innovation, since even the OT taught that God’s people should do good to their enemies (Prov. 25:21).
5:44, 45 love your enemies…that you may be sons of your Father. This plainly teaches that God’s love extends even to His enemies. This universal love of God is manifest in blessings which God bestows on all indiscriminately. Theologians refer to this as common grace. This must be distinguished from the everlasting love God has for the elect (Jer. 31:3), but it is a sincere goodwill nonetheless (cf. Ps. 145:9).
5:46 tax collectors. Disloyal Israelites hired by the Romans to tax other Jews for personal profit. They became symbols for the worst kind of people. Cf. 9:10, 11; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31; Mark 2:14–16; Luke 5:30; 7:25, 29, 34; 18:11–13. Matthew had been one of them (see notes on 9:9; Mark 2:15).
5:48 you shall be perfect. Christ sets an unattainable standard. This sums up what the law itself demanded (James 2:10). Though this standard is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising His own perfection. He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf (see note on 2 Cor. 5:21).

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The scripture text was taken from

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in

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