Repent - Matthew 4:17

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 4:17-7:29

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Repent - Matthew 4:17

Repent. Jesus' message starts with a call to re-orient one's life based on the reality of God's coming kingdom from heaven (see note on Matt. 3:2). The rest of Jesus' teachings in Matthew should be understood as explaining what this kingdom-conscious repentance looks like.

I will make you fishers of men – Matthew 4:19

I will make you fishers of men. Jesus used a clever play on words to call these fishermen to give up their livelihood of catching fish to rescuing people. This shows that Jesus' ministry is not just about knowledge or only about the disciples' own lives. Rather, Jesus' calling always includes an outward focus of bringing life and flourishing to others.

They immediately left - Matthew 4:22

They immediately left … and followed him. While it is not possible to physically follow Jesus now, to be a disciple is still a commitment of one's life to listen to, learn from, and be guided by Jesus' life and teaching. To be a Christian is not just to believe certain doctrines or adopt a particular lifestyle, but to be a follower of Jesus.

Summary of Jesus' Gospel Ministry – Matthew 4:23-25

Matthew presents Jesus' ministry in the form of alternating blocks of teachings and actions that make up most of his Gospel (Matt. 4:23–25:46). (See discussion of the Structure in the Introduction.) Matthew describes Jesus' ministry as "the gospel of the kingdom," meaning the promised good news that God is returning to reign over the earth fully (Isa. 40:1-11). This gospel of the kingdom ministry contains three aspects: teaching and preaching, healing and restoration through Jesus' power, and the call for people to follow and align themselves with Jesus. Matt 4:23-25 (and the same words again in Matt. 9:35-38) provides a summary statement of this three-fold ministry. Matthew chapters 5–9 give examples of Jesus' teaching (Matt 5–7) and his healing and disciple-calling (Matt 8–9).

The Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5:1-7:29

The Sermon on the Mount is the most famous and influential part of the Christian Bible. It is the first of five sermons or teaching units that Matthew provides from Jesus' ministry. The Sermon on the Mount is part of Matt. 4:23–9:38 which describes the gospel of the kingdom as including teaching, healing, and calling people to follow Jesus (see note on Matt. 4:23-25). The main theme of the Sermon is the greater righteousness that God requires of people in relationship with him, a righteousness that comes through a whole heart dedicated to God (Matt. 5:48) and that promises humans true flourishing and happiness.

He went up on a mountain - Matthew 5:1-2

He went up on the mountainsat down. These actions present Jesus as like Moses who also spoke for God, though Jesus will be presented as even more authoritative than Moses (Matt. 5:17-48; 7:28-29). These actions also show Jesus to be a sage or philosopher who is offering true wisdom to the world.

The Beatitudes - Matthew 5:3-12

Each of these nine beatitudes begins with the word "blessed" (Grk. makarios) which means truly happy and satisfied in life with God. In the Beatitudes Jesus shares a vision for certain attitudes of the heart and ways of being in the world that relate to God and to others. In each case these ways do not seem to promise happiness because they are mostly negative, especially emphasizing persecution and suffering (Matt. 5:10-12). But in each Beatitude Jesus promises that these surprising attitudes and ways of being will prove to be the place of true life in God's kingdom. See WLC 172; HC 63, 107.

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