THE SERMONS OF JESUS
The Sermon on the Mount: Introduction
Based on the Greek Text
The next section serves as a type of introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. Whereas the Beatitudes are a type of overture to the Sermon (the themes of the Beatitudes are developed more fully in the rest of the Sermon on the Mount), this Introduction lays out some parameters for the Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Citizens are to be salt and light: infiltrating the world with their righteous acts (5:13-16). They are also to take the following injunctions seriously. In fact, their righteousness is to surpass that of the most righteous people the world can ever produce--the scribes and Pharisees.
CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: SALT AND LIGHT (5:13-16)
umeiV este to alaV thV ghV. ean de to alaV mwranqhi, en tini alisqhsetai; eiV ouden iscuei eti ei mh blhqen exw katapateisqai upo twn anqrwpwn
humeis umeiV "you": emphatic use of personal pronoun subj nom masc plur su "you [yourselves]
ta halas to alaV "the salt":
- "In the ancient world salt has religious significance. Because of its purifying and seasoning (Job 6:6) and preserving qualities it is a symbol of endurance and value. It is linked with God, as putrefaction and corruption are linked with demons. For this reason it was much used in worship, as in the OT. It was sprinkled on or mixed into the sacrifices (Ex. 30:L35; Lv. 2:13; Ez. 43:21). . . . Lasting covenants were made by eating bread and salt, or salt alone (Nu. 18:19; s Ch. 13:5: the covenant of salt). In the NT its cultic significance is lost" (TDNT 1:220 by Hauck).
- "It may be best simply to take the metaphor broadly and inclusively as meaning something that is vitally important to the world in a religious sense, as salt was vitally necessary for everyday life . . . . Thus, the disciples are vitally significant and necessary to the world in their witness to God and his kingdom" (WBC: 99).
moranthei mwranqhi "if it has become tasteless, unsalty": comes from mwroV from which we get "moron," i.e., foolish.
- "He [Jesus] does not forget that salt does not become inactive . . . What He is saying is that as salt cannot become inactive, so this or that cannot happen. We thus have a similar metaphor to that of the camel and of the needle's eye. Jesus uses such images to characterise something as impossible . . . It is impossible that what Jesus brought, what He gave His disciples, what He made of them,, should become insipid and perish." (TDNT 4:838 by Bertram).
- "The verb is from moros (dull, sluggish, stupid, foolish) and means to play the fool, to become foolish, or salt become tasteless, insipid (Mark 9:50). It is common in Syria and Palestine to see salt scattered in piles on the ground because it has lost its flavour, 'hae tint its tang' ( Braid Scots), the most worthless thing imaginable." (RWP 1:42).
- "The Greek word mwrainein because it applied more readily to the disciples. For the disciples, the salt of the earth, to lose their saltiness was equivalent to becoming foolish. It would in effect be to lose their identity" (WBC:99).
alisthesetai alisqhsetai "will it be salted": pred fut pass no agent interrog indic 3 sg alizw
ischuei iscuei "It is good, capable, able": prog pres s. act decl indic 3 sg iscuw "it is good/capable": "The word goup iscu- has the meaning 'to be able,' 'to be capable,' 'capacity,' 'power,' 'strength.'" (TDNT 3:397 by Grundmann).
umeiV este to fwV tou kosmou. ou dunatai poliV krubhnai epanw orouV keimenh
to phos tou kosmou to fwV tou kosmou "the light of the world": "Light is a very important metaphor in the Bible. 'God is light' according to 1 John 1:5, and Christ is described in the Fourth Gospel as 'the light of the world' (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; cf. 1:7-8). God is also described as light in eschatological contexts (e.g., Isa 60:19-20; cf. Rev 21:10-1). God, moreover, has come in Christ to bring light into the darkness (John 1:4-5, 9; 12:46; cf. Ps. 27:1), a point Matthew has already emphasized in his quotation of Isa 9:2 . . . When Jesus declares that the disciples are to fwV tou kosmou, 'the light of the world,' he means that they, as recipients of the kingdom, represent to the world the truth of the salvation that has come. Thus, as the preceding maxim about the salt of the earth, here too the message is that the disciples are ( and will continue to be) indispensable. If the world is not o be left in darkness, the disciples must fulfill their calling to represent the kingdom. They now are the light . . . whose shining thus becomes the hope of the world." (WBC:99-10).
ou dunatai polis krubenai epano orous keimene ou dunatai poliV krubhnai epanw orouV keimenh "a city sitting on a hill cannot be hidden": "It is unthinkable that a city set on a hill (a metaphor that has unavoidable associations with Jerusalem on Mount Zion . . .) can be hid as that light would be put under a measuring vessel" (WBC:100).
oude kiousin luchnon and titheasin auton upo ton modion all' epi ten luchnian kai lampei pasin tois en tei oikiai
oude kaiousin lucnon and tiqeasin auton upo ton modion all epi thn lucnian kai lampei pasin toiV en thi oikiai
"neither do they light a lamp and put it under the bushel but on the lampstand and it lights all who are in the house":
luchnon lucnon "a lamp": "lucnoV refers to an ordinary oil-burning household lamp (cf. Luke 15:8)" (WBC:100).
upo ton modion upo ton modion "under the bushel":
- "The bushel was an earthenware grain measure" (RWP 1:43).
- "The modioV was a common vessel used in measuring grain (about one peck, or 8.75 liters)" (WBC:100).
epi ten luchnian epi thn lucnian "upon the lampstand": "The figure is taken from lowly cottage life. There was a projecting stone in the wall on which the lamp was set. The house consisted of a single room, so that the tiny light sufficed for all' (Bruce)" (RWP 1:42).
outos lampsato to phos umon emprosthen ton anthropon opos idosin umon ta kala erga and doxazoin ton patera umon ton en tois ouranois
outwV lamyatw to fwV umwn emprosqen twn anqrwpwn opwV idwsin umwn ta kala erga kai doxaswin ton patera umwn ton en toiV ouranoiV
"thus let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good/beautiful works and glorify your Father who is in heaven"
outos lampsato to phos umon emprosthen ton anthropon outwV lamyatw to fwV umwn emprosqen twn anthrwpwn "thus let your light shine before men":
- "This verse serves as the climax of the entire pericope. Since the disciples are the light of the world (v 15), they are now exhorted to let their light shine—that is, they are to let the light accomplish its purpose. There are no known parallels to this imperative use of lamyatw, 'shine," in the OT or rabbinical literature . . . To let one's light shine is to live in such a way as to manifest the presence of the kingdom . . . Letting one's light shine is living according to the perfection of the kingdom and thus manifesting the righteousness of the Torah according to its correct interpretation, examples of which are shortly to emerge. The love commandment provides the foundation for these good works (cf. 22:37-40)." (WBC:100-101).
- "The adverb points backward to he lamp-stand" (RWP 1:43).
opos idosin umon ta kala erga kai dixasosin ton patera umon ton en tois ouranois opwV idwsin umwn ta kala erga kai doxaswsin ton patera umwn ton en toiV ouranoiV "so that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven": "The emphasis here on doing one's good works emprosqen twn anqrwpwn, 'before people,' so that they will see them appears to stand in some tension with the warning in 6:1-6 not to do one's good works emprosqen twn anqrwpwn, 'before people' (6:1). In the latter instance, however, it is obvious that the almsgiving and praying are performed deliberately for self-glorification. But to let one's light shine is to call attention not to oneself but to the kingdom's presence and thus to glorify God for his gracious fulfillment of the promises (Jews primarily are in view here, whereas in 1 Pet. 2:12, which depends on this saying of Jesus, Gentiles are in view)" (WBC:101).
ton patera umon ton en tois ouranois ton patera umwn ton en toiV ouranoiV "your Father who is in heaven":
SERIOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM INJUNCTIONS (5:17-20)
- "God is referred to as pathr, 'Father,' forty-give times in Matthew, and in nearly half the occurrences (nineteen times) it is modified, as here, by the words 'in heaven' or 'heavenly.' The expression 'heavenly Father' or 'Father in heaven' occurs in the rabbinic literature, but in the NT it is distinctively Matthean; outside Matthew it occurs only in Mark 11:25. Only John uses 'Father' for God more than Matthew does. God is referred to as Father seventeen times in the Sermon on the Mount; in seven instances the modifier, which occurs in the context, is not repeated. Although the Greeks, as well as the Jews, referred to God as Father, the NT makes anew and greater use of the title in referring to God. In the NT, the fatherhood of God is experienced at a new level of intimacy (cf. the Aramaic term Abba). The reason for this is that the kingdom (reign) of God announced by Jesus involves the possibility of a new relationship with God. One key way of expressing that new relationship in the NT is in the believer's ability to refer to God as Abba, or as 'Father' in the most personal sense (Mark 13:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). Thus, the emphasis in the Gospels on God as 'Father' rests directly upon the announcement of the eschatological salvation that brings about this new relationship between God and his people. The expression 'Father in heaven' is remarkable in that it combines the personal, or immanent, element of fatherhood with the transcendental element of God's otherness, 'in heaven'" (WBC:101).
- I think that the only reason God IS our Father is that He is 'heavenly.' What earthly man would want such people to be his sons or daughters? I think the answer is obvious...NONE! It takes someone who is NOT like us to want to be our Father. As Isaiah says, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him. 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are My ways your ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (55:7-9). Instead of being overwhelmed by our FAther's heavenly nature, we need to be grateful for that heavenly nature!
- "What is meant by 'in the heavens'? The expression does not contain speculation on the remote God of transcendence. In the first instance it simply rules out confusion with the earthly father and describes the divine Father as exalted and also as standing above all earthly fatherhood. . . . The expression, which comes in strongly after 70, shows itself to be well adapted to emphasize that what is in heaven can now serve as a true substitute for what is destroyed on earth->n. 215. But this temporarily coloured understanding was no uniform. Nevertheless, it always seems that the expression is taken to be a counterpart to the earthly situation; thus in political bondage an antithesis and consolation is sought by looking to the Father in the heavenly world" [TDNT 5:980] . . . . [abba] The authentic term for God in the teaching of Jesus has been preserved in the original Aramaic . . . Mk. 14:36, cf. Gl. 4:6; R. 8:15 prove that this address was not forgotten but highly esteemed in primitive Christianity. . . . . This word [abba] is always the original of pathr in the prayers of the Gospels. The new thing in the usage is that an everyday infant sound is applied without inhibition to God. To Jewish sensibility this is too familiar. For Jesus it is the simplest and sincerest conceivable term to express God's attitude and it also implies a rejection of all religious pretension. Hence 'abba is a basic word of faith in the revelation of Jesus and the confession of His community. Yet it does not imply a banal self-assurance which takes things for granted->1006, 17." [TDNT 5:984-985] . . . . Paul views it as the working of the Spirit of adoption given in the heart. . . . elsewhere in Paul pathr is the proper and determinative word in prayer. The constant doxologies in Paul show that this invocation of the Father involves apermanent attitude. . . . Paul find the particularity of krazein, not in enthusiasm or ecstasy, but in childlike and joyous assurance as contrasted with he atiude of the servant. . . . In antithesis to douleia or foboV is sonship. Inheritance, maturity: Gl. 4:1 ff.; R. 8:15 ff. The cry Abba is thus the very opposite of nomism. . . . He [Paul] took the OT promise of the Father out of its immediate context and saw its fulfillment in Christ. [Or maybe he got it from the tradition--what Christ actually said and taught about God.] Cf. the mosaic of quotations in 2 C. 6:14 ff., where the final link in the chain of promises is the promise of father-hood" (TDNT 5:1006).
mh nomishte oti hlqon katalusai ton nomon h touV profhtaV. ouk hlqon katalusai alla plhrwsai
1 con aor s. act subj of command 2 plur nomizw "don't ever think!":
- : "'do not think that I came,' presupposes the existence of the opinion that is denied [hence MY translation 'Don't ever think' or even better 'Stop thinking!']. . . . it may well be that the law-free gospel of the gentile church aggravated the claim of non-Christian Jews that Jesus' teaching, and hence the Christian faith, was antinomian. Here it is fair to assume that Jesus' sovereign interpretation of the law was so out of step with contemporary interpretation . . . that it seemed to many that Jesus was going against the law" (WBC:104).
katalusia katalusai 1 con aor s. act infin verbal infinitive purpose "to destroy, annul":
- "'to abolish,' 'annul,' or 'repeal' (cf. its use in 24:2 . . . in reference to the destruction of the temple . . . The verb hlqon, 'I came,' in itself hints at the authority of Jesus . . . . 'Jesus is not the servant but the Lord of the law' (WBC:105).
- "The verb 'destroy' means to 'loosen down' as of a house or tent (II Cor. 5:1)" (RWP 1:43).
- "It is used of the destroying of a building, e.g., the temple. MK. 14:58; 15:29 . . ." (TDNT 4:338).
tous prophetas touV profhtaV
1 accus dir obj masc plur profhthV, o "the prophets":
- "The reference to 'the prophets' suggests that the significance of Jesus for the Mosaic law can only be understood in its broad sense, including the prophets (cf. the inclusio in 7:12). (The entire OT can be referred to as 'the law and the prophets.') This elevation of the prophets to the eternal worth of the law was not a view held by the Jews of Jesus' day (see Str-B 1:246-47). The messianic age has dawned in history, and with it comes the fulfillment of the prophetic expectation. Consequently, the way in which the law is 'fulfilled' is inseparable from the total mission of Jesus" (WBC:105).
- The truth is that in many ways, Jesus' ministry extends the advance the Prophets made upon the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law focused on physical circumcision, whereas the Prophets focused on spiritual circumcision. Cf. 9:25, 26: 25 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised - 26 Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart." (my comments).
- "Fulfil is to fill full. This Jesus did to the ceremonial law which pointed to him and the moral law he kept. 'He came to fill the law, to reveal the full depth of meaning that it was intended to hold' (McNeil)" (RWP 1:43).
- "The verb means literally 'to fill to the full' . . . . From this basic meaning comes such derivative meanings as 'accomplish,' 'complete,' 'bring to its end,' 'finish.' 'Fulfill' here hardly means 'to do,' although Jesus in his conduct is faithful to the true meaning of the Torah. . . . the word plhroun, 'to fulfill,' is never used in Matthew to describe obedience to the law. . . .[rather] in the sense of bringing it to its intended meaning in connection with the messianic fulfillment of bringing it to its intended meaning in connection with the messianic fulfillment . . . In Matthew's view, the teaching of Jesus by definition amounts to the true meaning of the Torah and is hence paradoxically an affirmation of Jesus' loyalty to the OT. . . . it is best to understand plhrousai here as 'fulfill' in the sense of 'bring to its intended meaning'--that is, to present a definitive interpretation of the law, something now possible because of the presence of the Messiah and his kingdom. . . . Because the law and the prophets pointed to him and he is their goal, he is able now to reveal their true meaning and so to bring them to 'fulfillment.' This view is consonant with the expectation that the Messiah would not only preserve the Torah but also bring out its meaning in a definitive manner . . ."(WBC:105-106)."
What is interesting about this is that Jesus links the Kingdom injunctions to the Mosaic Law. That seems to contradict what Paul writes in Galatians/Romans about Christ being the "end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4). Moreover, according to Paul, from henceforth we are dead to the Law (Rom. 7:4; see also Gal. 2:20). Is there a contradiction here? No, because the ethic of the Kingdom (The Golden Rule/the Love Command) not only incorporates the Mosaic Law but is actually an advance upon it because whereas it never violates that Law, it produces a life, a real life, a life of love: "against such things there is NO LAW" (Gal. 5:23).
amhn gar legw umin ewV an parelqhi o ouranoV kai h gh, iwta en h mia keraia ou mh parelqhi apo tou nomou eaV an panta genhtai
amen amhn "amen, truly":
- "The point of the Amen before Jesus' own sayings is rather to show that as such they are reliable and true, and that they are so as and because Jesus Himself in His Amen acknowledges them to be His own sayings and thus makes them valid. These sayings are of varied individual content, but they all have to do with the history of the kingdom of God bound up with His person. Thus in the amhn preceding the legw umin of Jesus was have the whole of Christology in nuce [Lat. for 'in a nutshell']. The one who accepts His word as true and certain is also the one who acknowledge and affirms it in his own life and thus causes it, as fulfilled by him, to become a demand to others" (TDNT 1:338).
- "these words stress the gravity of what follows. This prefatory usage of 'amen' is found neither in teh OT nor in the rabbinic literature, where the word occurs consistently as a response to a preceding statement" (WBC:106).
iota iwta "jot"; keraia keraia "tittle":
- "iwta ('iota') is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet but translates an underlying reference to the smallest Hebrew letter, the yod ('). The keraia ('tittle,' lit. 'horn' or 'hook') refers to minute markings of the written text, either those that distinguish similar Hebrew letters . . . . or, more probably, the ornamental marks customarily added to certain letters. We have here thus a deliberate hyperbole—an overstatement that is designed to drive home the main point that the law be fully preserved" (WBC:106).
- "The iota is the smallest Greek vowel, which Matthew here uses to represent the Hebrew yod (jot), the smallest Hebrew letter. 'Tittle' is from the Latin titulus which came to mean the stroke above an abbreviated word, then any small mark" (RWP 1:43).
eos an parelthei o ouranos kai e ge . . . eos an panta genetai ewV an parelqhi o ouranoV kai h gh . . . eaV an panta genhtai:
- "This verse contains two ewV clauses, which indicate the law's continuing validity 'until' something occurs. One clause precedes and one follows the main clause just examined. . . . to take the two clauses as essentially synonymous. . . . that the repetition emphasizes a most important point for the evangelist: the law remains in place until the consummation of the age. We must reiterate, however, that the way in which the law retains its validity for Matthew is in and through the teaching of Jesus. . . . ewV an parelqhi o ouranoV kai h gh . . . They refer instead to the end of time as we know it and the beginning of eschatology proper, that is, the time of the regeneration of the created order (cf. 2 Pet 3:7, 13; Rev 21:1). In other words, the law, as interpreted by Jesus, will remain valid until the close of this age. . . . With this we may compare the similar statement in 24:35: 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.' The words of Jesus are here elevated even above those of the law, for they endure eternally, even beyond the existence of heaven and earth. . . . The Matthean clauses are equivalent in that they both point to the coming eschatological era. . . . For Jesus is the goal of the law and prophets, the bringer of the kingdom, and hence the final interpreter of the law's meaning. The law as he teaches it is valid for all time, and thus in effect the law is upheld" (WBC:107-108).
- "In some passages the word [parelqhi] takes on the more acute sense of passing by in the sense of passing away, or coming to an end, or perishing. . . . The word is used generally to denote the mortality of all created things (cf. Jm. 1:10). Often it has in this sense an eschatological note. Heaven and earth will pass away (Mt. 5:16; 24:35 Mk. 13:31; Lk. 16:17; 21:33). Even the Law, which maintains its validity to the end of this age, will fall victim to mortality at the conclusion of this ages and will therefore lose its validity (Mt. 5:18). Only the words of Jesus are not subject to mortality (Mt. 24:35 and par.)" (TDNT 2:682).
oV ean oun lushi mian twn entolwn toutwn twn elacistwn kai didaxhi outwV touV anqrwpouV elacistoV klhqhsetai en thi basileiai twn ouranwn. oV d an poihshi kai didaxhi outoV megaV klhqhsetai en thi basileiai twn ouranwn
lusei lushi "might lose, annul": 1 con aor s. act potent subj 3 sg
mian twn entolwn toutwn twn elacistwn
- "The key problem of this verse hinges on the meaning of the phrase twn entolwn toutwn twn elacistwn, 'the least of these commandments.' . . . a reference to the Mosaic law, and the equivalent of the 'jot and tittle' of v 18 but the easiest to fulfill . . . . If the commandments of the OT are in view here, we must regard this statement as hyperbolic. . . . What is being emphasized in this way are not the minutiae of the law that tended to captivate the Pharisees but simply a full faithfulness to the meaning of the law as it is expounded by Jesus. Thus, the phrase 'the least of these commandments' refers to the final and full meaning of the law, but taken up and interpreted by Jesus, as for example in the material that begins in v 21 . . . –the fulfillment brought by Jesus. These new connotations and a fuller picture of Jesus' intention concerning the Mosaic law will emerge as we progress through the Gospel" (WBC:108).
- "The addition of the word didaxhi, 'teach,' in both halves of the verse stresses the responsibility of the disciples, not simply to observe the law as interpreted by Jesus but also to teach it faithfully. Teaching receives great emphasis in the Gospel of Matthew, and the evangelist obviously regarded it as of the highest importance for his church (cf. 28:20" (WBC:108).
- "Jesus puts practice before preaching. The teacher must apply the doctrine to himself before he is qualified to teach others. The scribes and Pharisees were men who 'say and do not' (Matt. 23:3, who preach but do not perform" (RWP 1:43).
elacistoV klhqhsetai . . . megaV klhqhsetai
- "The ranking of persons as elacistoV, 'least,' or megaV, 'great,' in the kingdom of heaven is in keeping with the Jewish and rabbinic perspective . . . related to the idea of rewards as a motivation for correct conduct. The 'least' has presumably been essentially faithful to the law, though not having reached or taught the idea championed by Jesus. Matthew could well have in mind more liberal Jewish Christians or especially gentile Christians who tolerated more laxity regarding the law than he wished to . . . promote among his particular Jewish-Christian congregation. It is unlikely that 'least' refers to those excluded from the kingdom . . . . The assumption is that although they were guilty of the smallest commandments, they had kept the law for the most part. Their reward will be proportionately less . . . " (WBC:108-109).
legw gar umin oti ean mh perissueshi umwn h dikaiosunh pleion twn grammatewn kai farisaiwn ou mh eiselqnte eis thn basileian twn ouranwn.
lego gar umin legw gar umin "for I say to you":
- "stresses the great importance of the words that follow. This verse points to the essence of the matter and provides a clarification of the meaning of v. 18" (WBC:109).
perisseusei umon e dikaiosune pleion perissueshi umwn h dikaiosunh pleion "[unless] your righteousness surpasses beyond that of the
- "(pleion, 'more,' provides emphasis when added to perisseushi, 'abound'; . . .) . . . despite the language used this is not to be understood quantitatively (contra Luz)--that is, that the righteousness Jesus speaks of does not come through a greater preoccupation with the minutiae of the law that outdoes even the Pharisees! . . . Instead, Jesus expects, as the antitheses to follow show, a new and higher kind of righteousness that rests upon the presence of the eschatological kingdom he brings and that finds its definition and content in his definitive and authoritative exposition of the law. Thus Jesus clearly calls his disciples to a way of righteousness, but it is a new way that rests upon the true meaning of the Torah now delivered by the Messiah. To follow that teaching is to follow the path that leads to perfection (5:48). " (WBC:109).
- "Overflow like a river out of its banks and then Jesus adds 'more' . . . they had to be better than the rabbis. They must excel the scribes, the small number of regular teachers (5:21-48), and the Pharisees in the Pharisaic life (6:1-18) who were the separated ones, the orthodox pietists" (RWP 1:44).
twn grammatewn kai farisaiwn
- "The grammateiV, 'scribes,' were the professional scholars of the law who spent much of their time in detailed study of its minutiae. The Pharisees were the sect who attempted to fulfill the requirements of the Torah through an elaborate oral tradition that was meant to explicate its demands" (WBC:109).
- "grammateuV is a translation of the Heb. . . . which means a 'man learned in the Torah,' a 'rabbi,' an 'ordained theologian.' . . . 'scribe' or 'secretary,' was a title of royal officials, and only from the time of Ezra, Neh., 1 Ch. and Sir. did it come to denote a man learned in the Torah, . . . . The rabbis formed a closed order. Only fully qualified scholares, who by ordination had received the official spirit of Moses, mediated by succession . . . , were legitimate members of the guild of scribes. The high reputation of the rabbis among the people (Mk. 12:38 f.; Mt. 23:6 f.) rested on their knowledge of the Law and oral tradition, and also of secret theosophic, cosmogonic and eschatological doctriners concealed by an esoteric discipline. Sociologically the rabbis were the direct successors of the prophets, i.e., men who knew the divine will and proclaimed it in instruction, judgment, and preaching. As incumbents of the teaching office, they questioned Jesus on His message and His transgression of the Halacha. HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ou mh eiselqnte eis thn basileian twn ouranwn.
- "The larger context of the verse (e.g., the grace of the beatitudes) forbids us to conclude that entrance into the kingdom depends, in a cause-effect relationship, upon personal moral attainments. This verse is addressed, it must be remembered, to those who are the recipients of the kingdom. Entrance into the kingdom is God's gift; but to belong to the kingdom means to follow Jesus' teaching. Hence, the kingdom and the righteousness of the kingdom go together; they cannot be separated. And it follows that without this righteousness there can be no entrance into the kingdom (cf. 6:33)" (WBC:109).