Tonight we are discussing Matthew 7:1-12 of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The first half of the readings (vv.1-5) proscribes our passing judgment on other people while the second half of the readings (vv.7-12) primarily serves to define who God is and our relationship with him and with others.
Within the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to God as “Father” seventeen times, including the direction that we are to pray to “Our Father.” In using a very human term to define the Divine, Jesus leaves open the possibility that he may be misinterpreted and misapplied. We all have our own personal experiences (and not always positive) with a father. Therefore, when we consider God as “Father” we should allow Jesus to define his terms for us. For tonight, think back at how Jesus uses the word “Father” in his discourse on the birds and the lilies and consider how Jesus uses the term father within our readings this evening.
In verse 12, Jesus gives us the golden rule – treat others as you wish to be treated. This verse begins with the word “therefore” and thus forms the conclusion of Jesus’ discourse on God as a generous father. The generous fatherhood of God creates a generous brotherhood of all humanity.
As a Jew, Jesus would have been well familiar with the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule as the summary of the Law, as Jesus teaches, was most famously articulated by Hillel the Elder. Hillel lived a few generations before Jesus. (His grandson was Gamaliel who is mentioned in Acts 5:34 as speaking in favor of the apostles in a Jewish council and in Acts 22:3 as the teacher of Paul.) The story told about Hillel is that a Gentile convert went to Hillel and asked Hillel to teach him the entirety of the Jewish Law while he (the convert) stood on one foot. Hillel responded: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Law; the rest is the explanation of this—go and study it!” This is what Jesus is telling as well is verse 12: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – the rest of Scripture is mere commentary.”
Our Thanksgiving service and meal is on November 26. All are invited, but we need you to please sign up so that we have enough chairs.
Dinner at 6. The menu is chicken lettuce wraps. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jerimiah 29:11-13