Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
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.”
Up until His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Yeshua of Nazareth tried to keep His messianic identity quiet. He warned His followers and disciples not to tell anyone who He was. He hushed up the eerie voices of the possessed, which tried to declare His identity. When Simon Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah,” He told him not to reveal it to anyone. By sending for a donkey, however, He indicated a shift in public policy.
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.
Yeshua teaches, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Those who are merciful and compassionate towards others are blessed because they will receive mercy and compassion from God. Conversely, one who does not show mercy toward others should not expect to receive mercy from heaven.
Yeshua taught his disciples that those who hunger and thirst now are especially blessed because they will enjoy being satisfied in the Messianic Era. Does this refer to the poor and needy who literally hunger from lack of food and thirst from lack of clean water? Or does it refer to a spiritual hunger and thirst?
Every year at Rosh Hashanah, disciples of Yeshua hear the shofar in anticipation of the future trumpet of Messiah. Yeshua predicted that God will “send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matthew 24:31).
It seemed like Yeshua denounced those who strove to live their lives according to God’s Torah while sympathizing with those who lived in open rebellion to God. He was a friend to tax collectors, terrorist-like zealots, fallen women, and sinners: that is to say, the secular Jews of His day.