Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“III. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee, 4:12-13:52” pp. 79-363.
Due to the length of this portion, we will divide notes roughly by biblical chapter.
“The Sermon on the Mount, 5:1-7:29” “Matthew 6” pp. 135-163.
Matthew 6 continues Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” begun at 5:1 and continuing through the end of chapter 7. In chapter 6 he addresses three practices which were central to the Jewish faith: giving, prayer, and fasting (Morris 1992, 135).
As to giving to the poor, the Christian is not to make a show of it. “The believer must always keep in mind that the act is righteous only if it is what it purports to be - the service of God. When instead it is done as a means of enhancing the reputation of the doer of the deed, then it is no longer a simple act of divine service” (Morris 1992, 136). Giving in public places such as the synagogue or on the street is its own reward - publicity (Morris 1992,137). The gift in secret is known by God and is rewarded according to God’s love (Morris 1992, 138).
Similarly, praying is not intended to improve the Christian’s reputation. As with giving, it is done regularly and discreetly (Morris 1992, 139). While Morris views the Lord’s prayer as a model, he does not deny that it is a good prayer which should be used (Morris 1992, 143). Morris addresses key words in the prayer, seeing the importance of the address to God as Father, the power of the name, the centrality of God’s kingdom, and the personal care of God in providing needs including forgiveness (Morris 1992, 144-148). All culminates in the plea for protection from temptation.
Fasting is also assumed to be the normal practice of the Christian (Morris 1992, 150). Again, it is not to be done in an ostentatious manner.
Morris observes that in Matthew 6:19 Jesus turns attention to attitudes toward one’s own life (Morris 1992,52). Christians are to value Jesus above all else. Their own possessions are not to be overly dear to them. “It is worldly-mindedness to which he is objecting, the concentration on prosperity in this world to the neglect of all else” (Morris 1992, 152). The riches that last are in heaven (Morris 1992, 153) Jesus’ words about “the eye” may well refer to how we look at spiritual matters, the illumination of God allowing us to see what is truly valuable (Morris 1992, 155).
Jesus’ words about trust rather than worry (Matthew 6:25-34) draw our attention to the precarious food supply in much of Jesus’ culture (Morris 1992, 156). God is the one who is faithful in all things. If even the birds and the plants are cared for by God, his people certainly are (Morris 1992, 158). It is normal for those who do not trust God to be anxious, as they do not have means in themselves to care for their needs (Morris 192, 161). The Christian has no such fear.