Many people these days have only heard of Jesus Christ as a swear word.
But Jesus of Nazereth was actually a man who lived in Israel some 2000 years ago. Contemporary teachers still regard him as the greatest teacher of all time(1). Four biographies of his life are still with us today. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I will include a video explaining the authenticity and textual reliability of these books at the end.
I thought it would be worthwhile to blog some of Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 5 and 6.
Matthew 5:43 Jesus said, “You have been told to love your neighbors and hate your enemies. But I tell you, love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you…” Hang on a minute Jesus. What do you mean? What’s the logic? How?
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus not only tells us to love our enemies, he says that God loves His enemies. By giving them sunshine and rain. So we should be perfect like God is perfect. Even bad people love those who love them, but God wants more of us.
Matthew 6:1-6 Jesus said “Be careful of doing good things so that others will notice you. Or else you won’t get a reward from God.”
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Giving to the needy
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
So, Jesus, you are saying not to give to get people’s praise, and not to pray to be seen by others. So, how do we pray?
Matthew 6.7-15 Jesus said “Don’t pray long, repetitive prayers. Your Father in heaven already knows what you need. So keep it short and follow this example…”
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
(1) Fønnebø, Liv, “A Grounded-Theory Study of the Teaching Methods of Jesus : An Emergent Instructional
Mode” (2011). Dissertations. 369.
(2a) Youtube. 21 May 2020. 4. The Reliability of the New Testament (Authorship & Dating)
(2b) Youtube. 21 May 2020. Are the gospels accurate?