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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Cut down the bad tree (Mt 7:19-7:20)

“Every tree therefore

That does not bear good fruit

Is cut down.

It is thrown into the fire.

Thus,

You will know them

By their fruits.”

 

πᾶν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

ἄραγε ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς.

 

This first verse is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 13:6-9, but Luke has a parable about a bad fig tree that should be cut down.  However, Matthew has this saying here exactly the same, word for word, what John the Baptist was preaching in chapter 3:10, about bearing good fruit.  Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit should be cut down (πᾶν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται).  Then they should be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).  The second verse is like what Jesus said earlier in this chapter 7:16, when he told his disciples, via Matthew, that they would know or discern people by their fruits (ἄραγε ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς).  Once again, Matthew has Jesus teaching exactly what John the Baptist had been teaching, probably from a common Q source.

Jerusalem is not exempt from fire (Jer 21:13-21:14)

“‘See!

I am against you!

O inhabitant of the valley!

O rock of the plain!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You who say.

‘Who can come down against us?

Who can enter our places of refuge?’

‘I will punish you

According to the fruit

Of your doings.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will kindle a fire

In her forest.

It shall devour

All that is around it.’”

Here Yahweh makes a direct attack on the royal palace and its surroundings. The rock of the plain and the inhabitants of the valley refer to the royal palace in Jerusalem. The inhabitants there think that no one could come against them in their place of refuge. However, Yahweh was clear. He was going to punish them according to their fruits, or what they did. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire in this great palace made of wood, as if it were like a great forest. This fire would devour it and all its surroundings.