Second narrative

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.

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The light of the world (Mt 5:14-5:14)

“You are

The light

Of the world!

A city built

On a hill

Cannot be hid.”

 

Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου. οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη·

 

This saying of Jesus can be found in John, chapter 8:12. The main difference is that here Matthew has Jesus say that his disciples are the light of the world (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου), “you are” (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε). However, in John, Jesus said that he was the light of the world (Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου), “I am” (Ἐγώ εἰμι). That is quite a difference. Are the disciples the light of the world or is only Jesus who is the light of the world? Or are they both lights to the world. I assume that they both can be. The disciples of Jesus were both the salt of the earth and the light of the world, so that they were very important people. Matthew then added a unique phrase about a city set on or built on a hill that could not hide itself (οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη), as if to say that the disciples were like a city on a hill that could not be hidden. These are powerful words about the disciples of Jesus.

Pillar of fire for the holy ones (Wis 18:1-18:4)

“But for your holy ones

There was very great light.

Their enemies heard their voices.

But they did not see their forms.

They counted them happy

For not having suffered.

They were thankful

That your holy ones,

Though previously wronged,

Were doing them no injury.

They begged their pardon

For having been at variance with them.

Therefore you provided a flaming pillar of fire.

This was a guide for your people’s unknown journey.

This was also a harmless sun

For their glorious wandering.

Their enemies deserved to be deprived of light.

They deserved to be imprisoned in darkness.

They had kept your children imprisoned,

Through whom the imperishable light of the law

Was to be given to the world.”

The pillar of fire (πυριφλεγῆ στῦλον) can be found in Exodus, chapter 13. Here it seems like the Egyptians repented when they were in darkness. The Israelites were heard but not seen. The Egyptians, continually named as the enemies, were happy that these Israelites were going to leave them alone. After all, they had wronged them. Thus they asked for forgiveness and pardon for their deeds. God then provided the pillar of fire to help the Israelites on their wanderings. The enemies deserved their darkness (σκότει). They had imprisoned the children of God through whom the light of the world in the form of the law (νόμου φῶς) would be given to the world. There was this persistent theme of light and darkness. Israel was in the light. Egypt was in darkness.