The law and the prophets – Matthew 7:12

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 7:12-9:34

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The law and the prophets – Matthew 7:12

The law and the prophets. This phrase refers to all of the OT Scriptures taken together. Jesus has not come to destroy the law and the words of the prophets but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17). God's commands in the OT are fulfilled in relationship to others when we love them as we would love ourselves (Matt. 22:39; Gal. 5:14; 6:2).

The Broad and Narrow Gates - Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus uses the images of two different paths to challenge his disciples to greater righteousness (5:20). The broad road that leads to destruction looks like having external behavior but without a heart connected to God, like a wolf in sheep's clothing (7:15). The narrow road is the difficult way of living – having a consistency of both inward and outward righteousness. See HC 20.

By their fruit - Matthew 7:16

By their fruits you will know them. The image of a tree bearing fruit according to its kind is a very important and powerful idea (Matt. 3:8-10; 12:33-35) and is another example of the interior-exterior emphasis throughout the Sermon. Sometimes, however, the fruit is not immediately apparent, because it takes time to discern which fruit is true and lasting (Matt. 7:21-23; 13:20-22).

The Wise and Foolish Builders - Matthew 7:24-27

All of Jesus' Sermon is inviting people to wise rather than foolish living, just like the Proverbs of the OT. In the NT, Jesus is the center of truth and wisdom. The one who listens to Jesus' words (Matt. 7:26) is wise. But hearing alone is not enough. One must also respond with a change of life — "hears my words and obeys them" — because the people of God are the ones who do God's will in faith (Matt. 12:50; Jam. 1:22-25; 2:14-26).

When Jesus finished speaking - Matthew 7:28

When Jesus finished speaking these words. Matthew uses this phrase to indicate the conclusion to each of the five major teaching blocks throughout his Gospel (Matt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1).

One who had authority – Matthew 7:29

As one who had authority. Matthew regularly presents Jesus as having authority in teaching, over demons and sickness, and over nature (Matt. 8:27; 9:6; 11:27; 26:64; 28:18). This puts Jesus into contrast with the scribes and Pharisees who had teaching and strict rules but without God's authoritative power and effect.

Jesus' Ministry of Power - Matthew 8:1-9:34

Matthew describes Jesus' ministry of the "gospel of the kingdom" with three aspects: teaching and preaching, healing through Jesus' power, and the call to follow as a disciple. Matt. 4:23-25 and 9:35-38 frame this ministry. Matt. 5:1–7:29 give the teaching and preaching. Matt. 8:1–9:34 contains a series of stories that show Jesus' power and disciple-making.

A leper - Matthew 8:2

A leper. Leprosy was a term used to describe a variety of skin diseases, but especially to an infection now called Hansen's disease which often resulted in paralysis and rotting flesh. Leprosy is contagious and so lepers were forced to live separately. In the Law this disease also made a person ceremonially unclean (Lev. 13). Jesus showed his compassion and power by not only healing this leper but also by touching him, thus cleansing him completely.

Say nothing – Matthew 8:4

Say nothing to any man. Jesus knew that the healing part of his ministry was important but not the only thing he was called to do. He was sent to preach the message of God's coming kingdom (Matt. 4:17). When people who were healed by Jesus told others (see also Matt. 9:30-31), the result was that Jesus was surrounded by crowds so much that he had difficulty teaching and traveling to other places (Mark 1:45).

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