I define what is right and just. In other words, what is “just” is subjective. It is what I think is just—is just. That is the natural condition of my human nature. I have a rough time with the concept of an external definition of justice that does not take into account how I feel or how I am treated.
I also have the ability to use logic to develop an argument that adequately explains my sense of injustice in any given situation.
One sentence flows across a black granite wall in Montgomery, Alabama: We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Paraphrased from the book of Amos, this statement, engraved on a Civil Rights monument, crosses millennia to underscore unchanging lessons for humanity.
For millennia the Christian Church has sought to understand and explain the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, and to appropriate it’s meaning in different settings to each new generation. Our own prophet E. G. White has counselled; “As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit.” (The Desire of Ages, p.
Matthew wrote the Gospel to the Jews, his natives. The difference between him and Paul was that Paul was the “perfect” Jew before his conversion, whereas Matthew was “the traitor” Jew. Both were called directly by Jesus. After they accepted their call and converted, they both loved Jesus. Both also witnessed about Jesus in writing. While Paul wrote pastoral letters, Matthew penned a Gospel. Paul wrote primarily to the converted Gentiles, Matthew wrote primarily to the Jews. However, both were bringing arguments regarding the salvation of Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus invited all who were weary and burdened to come to him and promised that he would give them rest (Matt. 11:28ff). This was then, and continues to be, a welcome and attractive offer; an overwhelming majority of individuals experience soul-destroying, life-quenching exhaustion from the labor and troubles characteristic of life on this planet. Desperate for relief, multitudes have responded to Christ’s offer, seeking the promised rest. Sadly, only a portion of these finds this radical relief, the experience of revitalization.
The title “Sermon on the Mount” was apparently first given to Matthew 5-7 by Augustine of Hippo, but the specialness of this discourse was realized from the beginning and largely accounts for the popularity of this gospel in the early church. It is the first of five such discourses into which Matthew gathers the teachings of Jesus topically, the others being: Counsels on Mission (chapter 10), Teaching in Parables about the Kingdom of God (chapter 13), Church Relationships (chapter 18), and Last Things (chapters 23-25).
Our commentary this week is taken from A Commentary on the New Testament From the Talmud and Hebraica by John Lightfoot
Matthew 4:23 - And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.