Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
According to the Torah, a failed prediction disqualifies a would-be prophet: “If the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken” (Deuteronomy 18:22). He is a false prophet and liable to the death penalty: “That prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:20).
The Sermon on the Mount provides Yeshua's instructions for staying on the straight and narrow path to the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount describes the righteousness that "surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees" without which "you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20).
What does it mean to love one’s neighbor as one’s self? Whatever a person does not want others to do to him, he should not do to others. As you love to be treated yourself, so you should treat others. That principle describes basic empathy, the foundation of human morality.
The “one who asks” refers to the one who asks the Father in prayer, as James the brother of the Master explained, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The rabbis teach, “An answer to prayer is connected to the calling, and calling is connected to the answer.”
Rabbi Hillel used to say, “If you see a generation that does not cherish the Torah, hold in your words.” It does no good to preach Bible at atheists; it only provokes them. On a practical level, we should not force the message of the kingdom on people who do not want to hear it.
Have you ever noticed how those who like to point out the flaws in others are the same people who seem to have the most excuses and justifications for their own character flaws? Yeshua warned his disciples against judging others for their faults and imperfections.
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.