Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
Disciples of Yeshua should not declare God’s condemnation against others or presume to know God’s verdict regarding a human being. We should he point to a fellow’s misfortune and declare him justly repaid for wrongdoing. The disciple of Yeshua should be the most reluctant of all to declare a man’s final judgment and eternal destiny.
The “kingdom” is the Messianic Era. To seek the kingdom first means to prioritize attaining the reward of entering the kingdom—i.e., the resurrection of the dead and the Messianic Era. To seek God’s righteousness means to apply His Torah as Yeshua explained it in the Sermon on the Mount.
The life of John the Immerser, who lived in the wilderness eating and wearing only what he found, illustrates Yeshua’s teaching about God providing food, drink, and clothing. Discipleship to Yeshua did not allow for an abdication of responsibility, but it did call for a renunciation of worry and anxiety.
The slave with two masters will by way of necessity prefer one master over the other. The slave with divided loyalties cannot serve both masters simultaneously, so he must choose one over the other, even if he truly wishes he could serve both. His preference for one master will eventually evolve into disdain for the other.
The sages described a charitable person as a man with a good eye. The Master employed the good-eye/bad-eye terminology metaphorically to speak about spiritual blindness. If a person is generous and charitable, he has a good eye. The lamp of his body functions, filling his body with light.
People say, “You can’t take it with you.” Yeshua contradicted that adage by citing the common Jewish belief that resources given to the needy will be repaid and rewarded in the Messianic Era and the World to Come. “Treasures in heaven” does not refer to literal treasure stored up someplace beyond the sky, instead, it means “treasure with God.” That is to say, “Invest in the things of God and He will reward you.”
As a rule, disciples of Yeshua should not draw attention to their religious practices or acts of piety. More than anyone, we should be discreet, modest, and humble in our religious devotion, doing everything only for the sake of God’s eyes, not for the sake of what people will think of us.
Yeshua taught his disciples to expect persecution. He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). By saying “theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Yeshua indicated that those who endure persecution for his sake will find entrance into the kingdom.
Yeshua said to his disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Yeshua’s beatitude about peacemakers contradicted the first-century zealot impulse that called for taking up armed resistance against Rome. Several of His disciples embraced the zealot ideal. The beatitude about peacemaking attempted to turn their thoughts away from armed revolution.
Biblical Hebrew uses the word “heart” to refer to the mind, the core from which a human being thinks, reasons, and acts. Why does Yeshua say that the pure in heart will see God? According to the Torah’s laws of ritual purity, only the Levitically pure may enter into the holy Temple where God dwells. Levitical purity is a prerequisite to entering God’s presence.