Faithful or Saltless?

Faithful disciples will receive great rewards, but those who harm their weaker brethren risk condemnation to Gehenna . John complained because someone who was not from among their inner circle was casting out demons in Christ’s name. However, if this outsider was doing so, then it was God who was acting through him. John’s complaint was rich in irony since just a few verses earlier the disciples found themselves unable to exorcise demons because of their unbelief.

Wise or Foolish?

The Sermon on the Mount is not a program for reforming civil society, implementing economic justice, or creating the perfect society. Instead, it provides clear instructions for how the disciples of Jesus must live in the present age as faithful citizens and envoys of his Kingdom. His teachings are not optional. To stress the point, he concluded his Sermon with a stern warning. Modifying, compromising, or ignoring his words could result in the everlasting destruction of the would-be disciple.

The Way of the Cross

When Jesus dispatched his disciples to announce the “ Good News ” to the “ lost sheep of Israel ,” he warned that they would find themselves as “ sheep among wolves .” Hostile men would haul them before “ councils and whip them in their synagogues .” His followers would be hated “ by all men for my sake .” That was the harsh reality they discovered, one faced later by many in the early Church. The very men who should have welcomed Israel’s Messiah instead fought what he represented tooth and nail.

His Name is Jesus!

In Matthew’s Gospel, an angel informed Joseph that the child Mary is carrying is “ begotten of the Holy Spirit ,” and he instructed him to name the child ‘Jesus’ - “ Call his name Jesus, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS .” This name links him to the saving act of God for His people. When his name is spelled ‘ Jesus ,’ it is an anglicized form of the Aramaic name ‘ Yeshua ,’ the shortened form of the older Hebrew name ‘ Ye-hoshua .’

The Son of David

The Gospel of Matthew calls Jesus the “ son of David .” In his life story, he demonstrates what it means to be the King of Israel and the royal “ Son of God .” Traditionally, this last designation is linked to the House of David; but in Matthew’s account, the old understanding of what it means to be the Messiah is altered radically. The Greater “ Son of David ” is far more than the Ruler of Israel and the nations, he is a King of a very different kind.

The Son of Abraham

The introduction to the Gospel of Matthew declares that Jesus is the “ son of Abraham .” This is much more than another name on a genealogical list. It is a declaration that Jesus of Nazareth is the heir of the Covenant promises made by the God of Israel to the Patriarch. Moreover, the identification of him as Abraham’s “ son ” and heir points to the THEME OF FULFILLMENT that dominates Matthew. In Jesus, all the promises of God find their “ Yea, and Amen ”!