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 5” pp. 91-134.
Morris notes that Matthew typically gives a lengthy discourse of Jesus, surrounded by briefer narratives of healing and instruction. Matthew 5-7 is the first large block of teaching (Morris 1992, 91). The teaching in this sermon is viewed by some as an impossible standard and by others a an ethical goal we can attain (Morris 1992, 91). Morris observes several statements which, if treated woodenly, are self-contradictory and proverbial in nature. The account does not seem to be a transcript of a speech but an account of Jesus’ teaching placed contextually on a mountainside (Morris 1992, 92). Morris observes that Jesus went up and that his disciples, not the general public, came to him to hear his teaching (Morris 1992, 94). Jesus’ proclamation of blessing in Matthew 5:3-12 is significantly different from Luke 6:20-22, as is the overall setting (Morris 1992, 95). Morris emphasizes Jesus’ view that those in very negative situations receive blessing from God despite those circumstances (Morris 1992, 96). “We should not miss the point that in all three of the opening beatitudes the truth is brought out that the follower of Jesus does not aggressively insist on his own rights but displays genuine humility” (Morris 1992, 98). In a complementary manner, all the blessing needed is received from God, in a show of abundance. “The first four beatitudes express in one way or another our dependence on God; the next three the outworking of that dependence (Morris 1992, 100). Morris notes the change from the third person to the second person in Matthew 5:10, but makes no particular application (Morris 1992, 102). He does emphasize that the Christian’s persecution is to be on account of Christ, not on account of the Christian. After proclaiming the blessings on Christians, Jesus describes them as salt and light, giving flavor and preservation to the world and being prominently visible (Morris 1992, 105).
In Matthew 5:17 the text shifts to Jesus describing people in relation to himself and his attitude towards the Law (Morris 1992, 107). Jesus affirms the law’s force and his role in fulfilling it. Jesus emphasizes his messages by prefacing them with the word “amen” usually used in agreement after a statement but used by him before it (Morris 1992, 109). God’s Word is expressly intended to outlast all creation. Those given grace by Jesus live according to his right interpretation of God’s commands (Morris 1992, 111).
In Matthew 5:21 Jesus begins showing what Morris considers wise application of the Law (Morris 1992, 112). While the Pharisees kept the regulations they missed the underlying principles, which Jesus emphasizes. For instance, murderous opinions are implicit in the dishonor we would show to others (Morris 1992, 114). Morris continues to demonstrate the underlying value in each situation as the ruling value. He sums up, “There is a wholeheartedness about being Christian; all that we have and all that we are must be taken up into the service of the Father (Morris 1992, 134).