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 7” pp. 164-185.
Morris observes Jesus’ shift “from a negative attitude in one’s own affairs (worry) to a negative attitude in one’s attitude to others (censoriousness)” (Morris 1992, 164). While there is judgment required even in this passage, Jesus warns about hasty and unthinking judgment. In all our critiques of others we should consider what we see in them as less important than what God can see in us (Morris 1992, 166). “Jesus is drawing attention to a curious feature of the human race in which a profound ignorance of oneself is so often combined with an arrogant presumption of knowledge about others, especially about their faults” (Morris 1992, 167). Having right priorities in correcting faults is crucial. Jesus’ statement about not giving what is holy to dogs is more difficult. Morris suggests that there is a time when it is appropriate to give up on proclamation of the gospel to those who consistently refuse to hear (Morris 1992, 168). To give hope Jesus reminds his disciples that they wrap their lives with prayer, knowing that God cares for them (Morris 1992, 169). Jesus compares God the Father to earthly fathers. Though an earthly father is evil he will care for his children. God who is not evil will certainly care for his people (Morris 1992, 171).
The idea of Matthew 7:12 is contained in many religious beliefs, but is normally phrased negatively, “Do not do what you do not want done.” Morris thinks Jesus may be the first to phrase it in positive terms (Morris 1992, 172). This attitude is a summary of the law and the Prophets, all God’s commands for interactions with other people (Morris 1992, 173).
The close of the sermon, in Morris’ opinion, shows the difference between true and false disciples (Morris 1992, 173). There are only two ways to go. The easy and obvious way leads to destruction but the less obvious way leads to life. That way is by trusting the true word of the true God (Morris 1992, 176) as opposed to the false word of false prophets (Morris 1992, 177). There is destruction awaiting those who do not bear good fruit - decisive though maybe not cruel - the tree is thrown into the fire. Those who are saved not only recognize Jesus as Lord but act in keeping with his words (Morris 1992, 180).
Matthew closes this account by stating the people had never heard preaching of this type (Morris 1992, 184). He claimed authority to use God’s law as he wished.