Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 6

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

6:1-6    Motives

Jesus addresses our motives for what we do.  He tells us here (and also in verses 16-18) to not do things “to be seen” by men, but rather, do them unto God.

Compare Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:17, 22-23[i][END NOTES].

6:6       Prayer

See notes to 6:1-6 above for the general context of this verse.

I have heard some people attempt to use this verse, which is within the general context of verses 1-6, to say that we are sinning whenever we engage in public prayer (e.g., saying grace in a restaurant, group prayer, etc.)

This cannot be the case.  Jesus Himself – our example to follow – engaged in public prayer!

So, what does this apply to?  The key lies in the motivation not the method of prayer.  Notice, Jesus previously addressed motive as the key factor for why we should not pray before men to be seen; that motive is pride, cf. 6:1, 5.  The point being, to examine our own motives for anything we do (cf. 1st Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged; 2nd Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified).

6:7       Prayer II

“Do not use vain repetitions,” is a reference to the types of prayers practiced in the Oriental world and common to a number of pagan religions, e.g., the use of prayer beads (as in a rosary), prayer wheels, etc., with a number of prayers repeated for each bead or turn of the wheel.  These practices are still common in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Roman Catholicism.

6:9-13   The Lord’s (so-NAMED) Prayer

This prayer is misnamed; it is not the “Lord’s” prayer.  The Lord had no need to ask for forgiveness!  This is, however, a model prayer given to us by the Lord.  He gave us this example of prayer (cf. Luke 11:2-4[ii]) in response to the disciples’ request that He teach them (how) to pray (cf. Luke 11:1).

For the ultimate Lord’s Prayer, as recorded in Scripture, read John Chapter 17[iii].

6:10      Thy Will Be Done

A.W. Pink (1886-1952), in his book The Sovereignty of God, makes a very interesting and, I believe, valid observation regarding this verse and the petition involved.  Pink writes in the 11th Chapter:

“For example, it has been asked, If what we see in the world today is but the outworking of God’s eternal purpose, if God’s counsel is NOW being accomplished, then why did our Lord teach His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”?  Is it not a clear implication from these words that God’s will is not now being done on earth?  The answer is very simple.  The emphatic word in the above clause is “as.”  God’s will is being done on earth today, if it is not, then our earth is not subject to God’s rule, and if it is not subject to His rule then He is not, as Scripture proclaims Him to be, “The Lord of all the earth” (Josh. 3:13).  But God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in Heaven.  How is God’s will “done in Heaven”?—consciously and joyfully.  How is it “done on earth”?  For the most part, unconsciously and sullenly.  In Heaven the angels perform the bidding of their Creator intelligently and gladly, but on earth the unsaved among men accomplish His will blindly and in ignorance.  As we have said in earlier pages, when Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus and when Pilate sentenced Him to be crucified they had no conscious intentions of fulfilling God’s decrees yet, nevertheless, unknown to themselves they did do so!” (Pink, 1930, pp. 143-144)

The above was a response to the objection to the doctrine of the “Sovereignty of God in Operation” in the world of Pink’s day, shortly after the horrors of WWI, and the subsequent worldwide Depression of that began in 1929.

6:22-23Dark Light?

Compare with Luke 11:34-36[iv].

As Jesus is teaching a spiritual lesson here and not biology or physics lesson, the main point is a spiritual one.  It is summed up here in the question, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?”

Jesus’ lesson here is set within a series of lessons regarding the focus of our affections, e.g., whether earthly minded or spiritually minded, the former being condemned, the latter praised.  Jesus compares the function of the eyes in conveying information of the surrounding world to the mind, so that reasonable, rational decisions can be made in regard to what actions or direction to take, and the problems physical blindness cause in those functions, with something considerably worse, spiritual blindness mistaken for spiritual sight.  Of the two, the latter is the more dangerous as often the one suffering this type of blindness is not even aware that he is blind.  A good example of this blindness confused for sight, is that of the Pharisees, of whom Jesus called, “Blind leaders of the blind.”  See Matthew 15:14and note: “Blind Leading the Blind[v].”

            Practical Application

As with the rest of Scripture, which is “Profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” cf. 2nd Timothy 3:16, there are practical applications of this teaching such as follows:

That the entire section in which it is found, verses 19-34, is a warning against worldliness and worldly-mindedness in the areas of money and what it supposedly represents – security.

A more general warning against the religiosity or false religion, spirituality.  Consider the fact that the Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved not for the run of the mill, average, screwed-up sinner who knew he was screwed-up, but for the Scribes, Pharisees, priests, and other such who made a big production of how “holy” they acted, but inside they were spiritually dead.  That is what Isaiah warned against when he wrote, “Woe to those who…put darkness for light and light for darkness.”  cf. Isaiah 5:20.

A warning against false assurances of salvation.  This is found in noting of the fact that, as here, the Scriptures are full of warnings against loving the world or the things of the world, against being carnally minded.  Compare 1st John 2:15-16; Romans 8:5-6[vi].

As Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves…”  (2nd Corinthians 13:5, ellipsis added.)

Here is one area of importance to check; what is the focus of your affection?  The world and those things of the world, or the Lord and His kingdom?  See also, 6:24; 6:25-34 and related notes following.

6:24      Only One

You can’t serve two masters!  Period, end of discussion.

6:25-34Don’t Worry

Worry is sin.  How?  Because it is rooted in unbelief and is an act of disobedience to Jesus’ own command to not worry.

Unbelief itself is rooted in the “pride of life.”  See 1 John 2:15-17[vii] for more on this.

In light of these and other passages, cf. Luke 12:22-29; Philippians 4:6[viii], it is clear that to “worry” is to sin; it is an act of unbelief, of a lack of trust/faith in God, not to mention the fact that it is a waste of time and can cause physical illness(es) related to stress.

 END NOTES:


[i] Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:17, 22-23

Ephesians 6:5-7

(5)  Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;

(6)  not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

(7)  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

Colossians 3:17, 22, 23

(17)  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

(22)  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.

(23)  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

 

[ii]Luke 11:1-4

(1)  Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

(2)  So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

(3)  Give us day by day our daily bread.

(4)  And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

 

[iii]John 17:1-26  Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,  (2)  as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  (3)  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (4)  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  (5)  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  (6)  “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  (7)  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.  (8)  For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  (9)  “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  (10)  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.  (11)  Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  (12)  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  (13)  But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  (14)  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  (15)  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  (16)  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  (17)  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  (18)  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  (19)  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (20)  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  (21)  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  (22)  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  (23)  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  (24)  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  (25)  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  (26)  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

[iv] Luke 11:34-36.

(34)  The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

(35)  Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

(36)  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

As Jesus is teaching a spiritual lesson here and not biology or physics lesson, the main point is a spiritual one.  It is summed up here in the question, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?”

 

[v]Matthew 15:14

(14)  Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15:14     Blind Leading Blind

●             Why did Jesus refer to the Pharisees as, “the blind leading the blind”?  (Bold added).

It was certainly not because they did not have the Word of God available to them, to give light to their eyes.  No, it was because they did not heed that Word, putting their own traditions and customs before God’s Word, cf. 15:1-9.  Thus, they were the (spiritually) blind leading those poor lost (spiritually blind) souls into the pits of hell instead of into the light of God’s love as they expected.

Matthew 15:1-9

(1)  Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,

(2)  “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

(3)  He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

(4)  For God commanded, saying, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO CURSES FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH.’

(5)  But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”–

(6)  then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

(7)  Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

(8)  ‘THESE PEOPLE DRAW NEAR TO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME.

(9)  AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.’ “

 

[vi] 1st John 2:15-16; Romans 8:5-6

1 John 2:15-16

(15)  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(16)  For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.

Romans 8:5-6

(5)  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(6)  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

 

[vii]1 John 2:15-17

(15)  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(16)  For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.

(17)  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

2:15-17Don’t Love the World

•             The three temptations – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are the same three the devil used in the Garden of Eden.  Compare:

1.            Lust of the flesh – “saw that it was good for food” (cf. Genesis 3:6.)

2.            Lust of the eyes – “saw… that it was pleasant to the eyes”

3.            Pride of life – “and…desirable to make one wise.”

•             The devil has been using the same trifecta ever since.  Truly there is “nothing new under the sun” cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9, just new variations on old themes.  With all our modern science and technology, the “wisdom of the world” cf. 1st Corinthians 1:20-21; 3:19, we have not achieved peace, happiness, joy, but have only continued to distance ourselves from our Creator, advancing only in ways to sin against Him.

 

[viii] Luke 12:22-31; Philippians 4:6

Luke 12:22-31

(22)  Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.

(23)  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

(24)  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?

(25)  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

(26)  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?

(27)  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

(28)  If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

(29)  “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.

(30)  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.

(31)  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Philippians 4:6

(6)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

 

END NEND NOTES

O

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s