This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes. The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning. The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble. The fourth beatitude was about righteousness. The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart. The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution. There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They had to value and become the lighted lamp.
Next came the law and the prophets. The law with all its commandments remained. The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults. They would offer their gifts at the Temple. They would pay their debts and not commit adultery. Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand. He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman. They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech. No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness. They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.
The followers of Jesus should fast and pray. We should have piety with almsgiving. Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers. Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer. The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father. The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems. We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret. We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures. We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.
We should trust in Providence. We do not need to worry. Just look at the birds who do not worry. The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory. Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.
As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor. Be careful with your holy treasures. Be seekers and give to your sons. Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule. The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets. Know them by their fruits. The sound tree has good fruits. Cut down the bad tree. Seek the kingdom of heaven. Stay away from evildoers. Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation. The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.
They shall be called
Children of God.”
μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται.
The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who made peace (οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί). The reward for these peacemakers would be that they would be called children or sons of God (ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται). It was not enough to be a peaceful person, you had to make or be an artisan of peace, not just let it happen. These peacemakers would be like the sons or children of God. This comment about peacemakers was unique to Matthew since there is no equivalent in Luke. In fact, this is the only place in the Bible where there is any mention of peacemakers at all.
“Refrain from strife.
Your sins will be fewer.
The hot tempered kindle strife.
The sinner disrupts friendships.
The sinner sows discord
Among those who are at peace.
In proportion to the fuel,
So will the fire burn.
In proportion to the obstinacy,
So will strife increase.
In proportion to a person’s strength,
So will be his anger.
In proportion to his wealth,
So he will increase his wrath.
A hasty quarrel kindles a fire.
A hasty dispute sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark,
It will glow.
If you spit on it,
It will be put out.
Yet both come out of your mouth.”
Sirach reminds us of the problems with quarrels and arguments. If you refrain from conflicts, your sins will be less. Usually it is the hot tempered people who start disputes. Sinners disrupt friendships. They sow discord among peacemakers. Then Sirach has a number of proportional examples. The more fuel you have, the more the fire burns. The more stubborn you are, the more disagreements you create. The stronger you are, the more you will be angry. The more wealth that you have, the more fury you will have. Sometimes it is a hasty quarrel that starts a fire that leads to bloodshed. However, you have control with your mouth. You can either blow on the spark to increase the flame or spit on the spark to put it out. The choice is yours, spit or blow on the spark of a fire to increase or decrease the argument.
“Do not let my treacherous enemies rejoice over me!
Those who hate me without cause
Wink their eyes.
They do not speak peace.
They conceive deceitful words.
They are against
Those who are quiet in the land.
They open wide their mouths against me.
Our eyes have seen it!”
David’s treacherous enemies rejoiced over his troubles. They hated him without cause. They winked their eyes. They did not speak of peace but only with deceitful words against those who were the quiet peacemakers of the land. They opened their mouths against David. They said, “aha, aha.” They saw his evil with their own evil eyes.