Matthew Chapter 7
Mat 7:1 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Judge not — Harshly, uncharitably, unmercifully, ungenerously. Declaring against evil thoughts, evil suspicions, evil surmisings. Because we do not fully comprehend the divine law of love and cannot discern the thoughts of our own heart.
We may at times judge the outward action as wrong, but we are not to attempt to judge the heart, where there is a possibility of misjudgment. It is forbidden us to judge the heart.
Judging is a clear token that one has not developed the spirit of Christ, the spirit of love, which is full of kindness and consideration. Our Lord refers to the abuse of judgment and not to the legitimate use of that noble faculty. The Lord discountenances criticisms and accusations and sentences of one another as individuals.
But when conduct is in manifest opposition and in defiance of God’s law, as that of “wolves,” “swine” and “dogs,” the condemnation should be recognized as God’s judgment, not ours.
Some people must be held at arm’s length, but at the same time we should be careful to give them credit for good motives they claim to have.
The first occurrence of the word in the New Testament and would clearly bear the rendering, “Test not, that ye be not tested.” (Russell)
Judge not, that you be not judged: This is the Bible verse that seems to be most popular in our present day. But most the people who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. They seem to think Jesus commanded a universal acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching.
i. If we see what Jesus said in Mat_7:15-16, He commands us to know people by the fruit of their life, and some sort of assessment is necessary for that.
ii. The Christian is called to unconditionally love. But the Christian is not called to unconditional approval. We really can love people who do things that should not be approved of.
b. Instead, Jesus is speaking against being judgmental, that is, judging motives and the inner man, which only God can know. We can judge the fruit of a man, but we can rarely judge their motives with accuracy. (Guzik)
(Williams) “Stop criticizing others, so that you may not be criticized yourselves.
Mat 7:2 KJV For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: In addition, Jesus does not prohibit judgment of others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair, and that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged by.
i. Most of our judgment in regard to others is wrong, not because we judge according to a standard, but because we are hypocritical in the application of that standard – we ignore the standard in our own life. We judge others by one standard, and ourselves by another standard – being far more generous to ourselves than others.
d. With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you: According to the teaching of some rabbis in Jesus’ time, God had two measures that He used to judge people. One was a measure of justice and the other was a measure of mercy. Which measure do you want God to use with you? Then you should use that same measure with others. (Guzik)
With what judgment — How we deal with others fixes the gauge of how God deals with us. The Law of Love says: For shame that the weaknesses and shortcomings of brethren should be exposed before the world.
Ye judge — How many find it easy to excuse their own weaknesses while they are very captious and critical as respects the shortcomings of others.
Ye shall be judged — If at heart we treasure up resentment against others, the Heavenly Father will not forgive us. With what measure — The fallen or carnal mind is selfish; and proportionately as it is for self it is against others–disposed to approve or excuse self and to disapprove and condemn others. The continual fault-finder, who sees great blemishes in others and none in himself, is blind to his own defects, or hypocritical.
Ye mete — Measure others.
Measured to you — If our words are generous and kind, loving and benevolent, we shall receive similarly kind treatment of the Lord; but if harsh, critical, unkind, we may expect reproof. (Russell)
Mat 7:3 KJV And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? The figures of a speck and a plank are real figures used humorously. Jesus shows how we are generally far more tolerant to our own sin than we are to the sin of others.
b. Look, a plank is in your own eye: Our hypocrisy in these matters is always more evident to others than to ourselves. We may find a way to ignore the plank in our own eye, but others notice it immediately.
i. A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about a man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man, but was blind to his greater sin (2 Samuel 12). (Guzik)
Mat 7:4 KJV Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Let me — Fancying that it is “his duty” to advise, to pick, to investigate, to chide, to reprove.
Pull out the mote — The continual fault-finder who sees great blemishes in others and none in himself is blind to his own defects, or hypocritical. (Russell)
Mat 7:5 KJV Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Thou hypocrite — Wishing to give the inference that you are not yourself inflicted with the same malady of sin. It is deceptive and hypocritical when we claim that fault-finding is prompted by love for the erring and a hatred of sin. (Russell)
First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye: Jesus doesn’t say that it is wrong for us to help our brother with the speck in his eye. It is a good thing to help your brother with his speck, but not before dealing with the plank in your own eye. (Guzik)
Mat 7:6 KJV Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Dogs and swine in this context are those who are hostile to the gospel. Our love for others must not blind us to their hardened rejection of the gospel.
b. Nor cast your pearls before swine: Our pearls of the precious gospel may only confuse unbelievers, who are blinded to the truth by the god of this age (2Co_4:4) and may only expose the gospel to their ridicule.
i. Of course, Jesus did not say this to discourage us from sharing the gospel. He says this to call us to discernment, and to encourage us to look for prepared hearts. (Guzik)
Give not — Use the spirit of a sound mind to discriminate between those who are good subjects for the truth and those who are not. This does not mean that we should never bring holy things to the attention of those who are not the Lord’s consecrated people.
Unto the dogs — Idlers, breeders of spiritual contagion, self-seekers, biters and devourers, treacherously lying in wait to deceive. We would not expect that dogs would appreciate the difference between meat from the butcher shop and the holy, consecrated meat eaten only by the priesthood. The selfish, the sensual, who mind earthly things and who have never been begotten of the spirit of God.
The only preaching proper for such is “Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” and “Flee from the wrath to come.”
Cast your pearls — The deep and precious things that belong to the New Creation and which none others can understand and appreciate. We are not authorized to parade our ambassadorship before the world.
Before swine — Those who have not the hearing ear and the seeing eye. Those who would not be able to understand nor appreciate our position. They would resent our precious truths and do us injury.
Trample them — Recognizing no value in pearls, nor appreciating anything that would not give earthly satisfaction. And rend you — “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee.” (Pro_9:8) (Russell)
Mat 7:7 KJV Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mat 7:8 KJV For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Ask . . . seek . . . knock: We see a progressive intensity, going from ask to seek to knock. Jesus tells us to have intensity and passion in prayer.
b. Ask and it will be given to you: God promises an answer to the one who diligently seeks Him. Many of our dispassionate prayers are not answered for good reason, because it is almost as if we ask God to care about something we care little or nothing about.
i. God values persistence and passion in prayer because they show that we share His heart. It shows that we care about the things He cares about. (Guzik)
Ask — Some of the chiefest of His favors he withholds from us until we make requests, because He thus prepares us more for the blessings He is willing to bestow.
All the consecrated are free to make request for the things promised in the Word of God.
Seek — Those who approach the Bible with earnest desire to find God’s message, will be guided of the Lord. And ye shall find — The knowledge of the holy Spirit shall be revealed.
We find what we seek! Those who desire to find God’s message will be guided by the Lord. Those who approach the Bible from the standpoint of unbelief are equally sure to find what they seek–flaws, contradictions, etc.
Knock — Upon the Lord’s storehouse of grace and blessing by continued efforts, as well as prayer.
Opened unto you — The door of privilege, of opportunity. The door of knowledge.
Every one that asketh — Anyone, therefore, who seeks God will find him; for the Scriptures promise, “Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.” (Jam_4:8)
He that seeketh — In the “Law and Testimony.” (Isa_8:20)
Findeth — Those who pray for opportunities to serve the Lord and watch for the fulfillment of their prayers will surely have them.
It shall be opened — The door of knowledge shall be opened. God will reveal his true character to them. (Russell)
Mat 7:9 KJV Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Mat 7:10 KJV Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Jesus makes it clear that God doesn’t have to be persuaded or appeased in prayer. He wants to give us not just bread, but even more than what we ask for.
Thankfully, the times we ask for something as bad as a serpent without knowing, like a loving parent God often mercifully spares us the just penalty of our ignorance. (Guzik)
Mat 7:11 KJV If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven: It is blasphemous to deny God’s answer to the seeking heart. We imply that God is worse than even an evil man is. (Guzik)
Give good things — The holy Spirit, the true antidote for a faultfinding disposition. If he gives us a gift at all, we may be sure it will be a blessing.
That ask him — God is particularly willing to give us the holy Spirit, and is especially pleased that we ask for it. We are not to ask for all manner of earthly things. (Russell)
Mat 7:12 KJV Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
(Mat_7:12) A summation of Jesus’ ethical teaching regarding our treatment of others: the golden rule.
Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them: The negative way of stating this command was known long before Jesus. It had long been said, “you should not do to your neighbor what you would not want him to do to you.” But it is a large leap for Jesus to put it in the positive, to say that we should do unto others what we want them to do unto us.
i. In so doing, Jesus makes the command much broader. It is the difference between not breaking traffic laws and doing something positive like helping a stranded motorist.
ii. This especially applies to Christian fellowship. If we would experience love and have people reach out to us, we must love and reach out to others.
b. For this is the Law and the Prophets: Jesus shows that this simple principle – the golden rule – summarizes all the Law and the Prophets say about how we should treat others. If we would simply treat others the way we would want to be treated, we would naturally obey all the law says about our relationships with others. (Guzik)
Therefore — Connecting this with the preceding; signifying that this will be a test by which we may discern when and to what extent we are misjudging the motives of others. By way of concluding this subject of finding fault, picking flaws, condemning and criticizing.
Whatsoever ye would — Our Lord’s words were addressed to his disciples. This is not the rule of love, but of justice. To do justice to your neighbor as you wish that neighbor to do justice to you is the essence of the Law of God given to the Jews for their treatment of others.
Under this golden measurement, how few bitter, angry or slanderous words would be used, for how few would like to have others use such to or of them. As we would not wish to have others think ungenerously or meanly of us, so we in turn would find our thoughts of others becoming more generous and less suspicious.
If Jesus had loved us just according to the Golden Rule, he would not have died for us; but he did more, and he requires that his followers should do more for each other.
Do ye — This rule does not express all of the Christian’s duty, but marks the very lowest standard which must measure our dealings with others, justice. We must also be just in our words and thoughts. This law the Apostle calls the “law of liberty,” the perfect law.
Only as we exercise benevolence toward others need we expect God’s benevolence in respect to our weaknesses and shortcomings. The Christian has an additional requirement–the Lord’s “New Commandment.” We must “love one another” as our Redeemer loved us, to the degree of self-sacrifice, even unto death.
Even so to them — By acting kindly, speaking gently, being patient toward weaknesses, not expecting too much. Doing for them now the kind of work which God desires to have done; leaving for the future the things which God has planned to have done in the future (the salvation of the world).
This is the law — The Law of God is briefly summed up in this Golden Rule.
“The righteousness of the law.” (Rom_8:4) (Russell)
Mat 7:13 KJV Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 KJV Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Enter by the narrow gate: Jesus here commits the awful modern “sin” of “narrow mindedness.” To Jesus, there is no doubt that there is a right road and a wrong road. If Christians are accused of being “narrow minded” they should be following Jesus’ example of telling the hard truth, but telling it in love.
b. Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life: The true gate is both narrow and difficult. If your road has a gate that is easy and well traveled, you do well to watch out.
Enter ye in at the strait gate – Christ here compares the way to life to an entrance through a gate. The words “straight” and “strait” have very different meanings. The former means “not crooked;” the latter, “pent up, narrow, difficult to be entered.” This is the word used here, and it means that the way to heaven is “pent up, narrow, close,” and not obviously entered. The way to death is open, broad, and thronged. The Saviour here referred probably to ancient cities. They were surrounded with walls and entered through gates. Some of those, connected with the great avenues to the city, were broad and admitted a throng; others, for more private purposes, were narrow, and few would be seen entering them. So, says Christ, is the path to heaven. It is narrow. It is not “the great highway” that people tread. Few go there. Here and there one may be seen – traveling in solitude and singularity. The way to death, on the other hand, is broad. Multitudes are in it. It is the great highway in which people go. They fall into it easily and without effort, and go without thought. If they wish to leave that and go by a narrow gate to the city, it would require effort and thought. So, says Christ, “diligence” is needed to enter life. See Luk_13:24. None go of course. All must strive, to obtain it; and so narrow, unfrequented, and solitary is it, that few find it. (Barnes)
Enter ye in at the strait gate — as if hardly wide enough to admit one at all. This expresses the difficulty of the first right step in religion, involving, as it does, a triumph over all our natural inclinations. Hence the still stronger expression in Luke (Luk_13:24), “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” (JFB)
Mat 7:15 KJV Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Beware of false prophets: There are many who would try to guide us along the broad path that leads to destruction; how can we guard ourselves against them?
b. Who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves: It is in the nature of these false prophets to deceive and deny their true character. Often they deceive even themselves, believing themselves to be sheep when in fact they are ravenous wolves. (Guzik)
of false prophets — that is, of teachers coming as authorized expounders of the mind of God and guides to heaven. (See Act_20:29, Act_20:30; 2Pe_2:1, 2Pe_2:2).
which come to you in sheep’s clothing — with a bland, gentle, plausible exterior; persuading you that the gate is not strait nor the way narrow, and that to teach so is illiberal and bigoted – precisely what the old prophets did (Eze_13:1-10, Eze_13:22).
but inwardly they are ravening wolves — bent on devouring the flock for their own ends (2Co_11:2, 2Co_11:3, 2Co_11:13-15). (JFB)
Of false prophets — Public expounders. Some will speak perverse things and draw away disciples unto themselves. A class who pervert the truth, stirring up arguments that confuse the flock, manifesting a wolfish disposition.
It is not evil-surmising to be on the lookout for false teachers, nor evil speaking to call the attention of the sheep to such.
In sheep’s clothing — Those who studiously cover up a wolf-like character with the outward professions of godliness, in order to deceive and lead astray the unwary. Professing to be of the Lord’s flock; but really not such, because they do not trust in the great sacrifice offered once for all for their sins.
While sheep can never become wolves, some, who at one time were sheep, after a while manifest a wolfish disposition and take pleasure in doing all they can to injure the flock. Implies the thought of deception, walking like sheep, wearing sheep’s clothing, but never being real sheep.
However smooth, polished, educated, gentle they may be on the surface, we must get to know them better than by surface indications before we may dare trust them as leaders of the flock.
Ravening wolves — A class who pervert the truth, injure the flock, stir up arguments that confuse the flock, destroy the new creature, dragging them down to death.
Greedy, selfish: “Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” (2Pe_2:3)
The wolf is not to be tolerated. He has no rightful place in the assemblies of the true sheep until his character is changed by repentance and submission to the will of God. We should neither reprove as wolves, or disown as brethren, those whose hearts, characters, give evidence that they belong to the Lord, even though they follow not with us in respect to his service. (Russell)
Mat 7:16 KJV Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Of thorns — Some, like thorns, reach out to impede, irritate, annoy and injure those with whom they come in contact. Little of this injury is done physically; nevertheless, the thorny and briery people find abundant opportunity for injuring others with their lips and tongues. The thorn and brier classes, however closely affiliated with religious things, are not vine branches.
Of thistles — Some, like thistles, are always scattering seeds that cause trouble: false doctrines, evil-surmisings, errors. The thorns and thistles are bad fruits, belonging to the evil nature, and not fruits of the spirit of the Lord. (Russell)
Mat 7:17 KJV Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 KJV A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 KJV Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 KJV Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
We guard ourselves against false prophets by taking heed to their fruits. This means paying attention to many aspects of their life and ministry.
i. We should pay attention to the manner of living a teacher shows. Do they show righteousness, humility and faithfulness in the way they live?
ii. We should pay attention to the content of their teaching. Is it true fruit from God’s Word, or is it man-centered, appealing to ears that want to be tickled?
iii. We should pay attention to the effect of their teaching. Are people growing in Jesus or merely being entertained, and eventually falling away?
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit: This fruit is the inevitable result of who we are. Eventually – though it may take a time for the harvest to come – the good or bad fruit is evident, revealing what sort of “tree” we are. (Guzik)
By their fruits — Lives. What they do with their spare time and money. We are to judge the outward conduct, but we cannot go beyond and say what is of the heart.
Sharp, thorny, injurious, poisonous–or, helpful, strengthening, uplifting.
Aside from any fruits that would be injurious, we are to accept the profession of all who claim to be consecrated.
Ye shall know them — We know the Almighty by His fruits–His good, just and loving workmanship finally completed. Be able to discern which are brethren and which are “dogs” or “swine.” Specially applicable to those who would be leaders of His flock.
Mat 7:21 KJV Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
The people who Jesus speaks of here make a proper verbal confession, calling Jesus Lord. This is vital, but never enough by itself.
b. Who says to Me . . . will say to Me in that day: It is staggering that Jesus freely claims He will be the one people must stand before on that final day of judgment, and He is the one who is rightly called Lord.
c. The people Jesus speaks of here have impressive spiritual accomplishments. They have prophesied, cast out demons, and have done many wonders. These are wonderful things, but they mean nothing without true fellowship.
i. Jesus does not seem to doubt their claims of doing the miraculous. He doesn’t say, “You didn’t really prophesy or cast out demons or do miracles.” This leads us to understand that sometimes miracles are granted through pretended believers, reminding us that in the final analysis, miracles prove nothing.
ii. Significantly, they even did these things in the name of Jesus. Yet, they never really had a relationship of love and fellowship with Jesus.
d. I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! In the end, there is one basis of salvation. It isn’t mere verbal confession, not “spiritual works,” but knowing Jesus and being known by Him. (Guzik)
Mat 7:22 KJV Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Many will say — Not only a few, but “many,” who in their outward course of life have in some measure acknowledged the Lord publicly. Many sadly misinformed partial-believers in Christ. Ostensibly they serve the Lord, in reality they serve mammon.
In that day — In the close of the Gospel age.
Lord, Lord — They had a form of godliness.
Prophesied — Preached. He will not guarantee that anybody who has power to work miracles and preach publicly will be granted a place in the Kingdom.
In thy name — The Revised Version gives “by thy name,” intimating that the name of Christ is used rather as a charm, to conjure by. Much of this conjuring in the name of Jesus has been merely a cloak. Claiming divine authorship for their own erroneous theories. Many take the Lord’s name in vain, associating it with their enterprises, which are often in direct conflict with the Master’s Word and Spirit.
Cast out devils — Opposing sin and multitudinous forms of evil. R3747:6
Wonderful works — Good works: mission work, slum work. Not that the Lord does not approve of hospitals, asylums and charities, but they are not the fruits of the spirit.
The Lord’s followers are not to be known by their great works–“by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Verse 20)
Not acceptable to God because they have not submitted themselves to His plans and methods. (Russell)
Mat 7:23 KJV And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I never knew you — “Never approved you.” (Diaglott)
Never recognized or authorized your sects. I do not recognize you. You are not fit for the Kingdom class. You did not come in by the door of the sheep-fold (Joh_10:1).
Only those will be recognized who have done the will of the Lord and who have no theories or works of their own whereof to boast.
Depart from me – Obliged to pass through tribulation with the world, losing their share of the great prize of this Gospel age.
That work iniquity — Neglecting the privileges of the high calling when they knew of it. (Russell)
Mat 7:24 KJV Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
(Mat_7:24-27) An outward conformity to Jesus’ teaching here is not enough; Jesus demands that we be doers of the word, not merely hearers.
I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: In Jesus’ illustration of the two houses, each house looked the same from the outside. The real foundation of our life is usually hidden, and is only proven in the storm. (Guzik)
Doeth them — Render obedience thereto. Not merely to be doctrinally informed, but he is looking for such character development as will bring us into full harmony with his teachings.
I will liken him — The parable refers not to the Church and the world, but to two parties in the Church.
Built his house — Jesus showed that it was important to be founded upon a rock; and Paul shows that is important also to build with good material. (1Co_3:12)
A rock — Christ. “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, Jesus Christ.” (1Co_3:11) (Russell)
I will liken him unto a wise man – To a prudent man. True wisdom consists in getting the building of our salvation completed: to this end we must build on the Rock, Christ Jesus, and make the building firm, by keeping close to the maxims of his Gospel, and having our tempers and lives conformed to its word and spirit; and when, in order to this, we lean on nothing but the grace of Christ, we then build upon a solid rock. (Clarke)
Jas 1:22-25 KJV But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Luk 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Mat 7:25 KJV And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
The winds blew — The storms of life are sure to come.
Founded upon a rock — The foundation, God’s promises, brings calmness, confidence and security. No man can build a proper life unless he have some foundation, some doctrine, some faith. A man with no faith, no hope, is sure to be correspondingly lacking in character.
The twelve apostles, the foundations of the New Jerusalem, were not laid in the sand, but upon the sure and steadfast rock, Christ Jesus. (Russell)
And the rain descended – floods came – winds blew – In Judea, and in all countries in the neighborhood of the tropics, the rain sometimes falls in great torrents, producing rivers, which sweep away the soil from the rocky hills; and the houses, which are built of brick only dried in the sun, of which there are whole villages in the east, literally melt away before those rains, and the land-floods occasioned by them.
There are three general kinds of trials to which the followers of God are exposed; and to which, some think, our Lord alludes here:
First, those of temporal afflictions, coming in the course of Divine Providence: these may be likened to the torrents of rain.
Secondly, those which come from the passions of men, and which may be likened to the impetuous rivers.
Thirdly, those which come from Satan and his angels, and which, like tempestuous whirlwinds, threaten to carry everything before them.
He alone, whose soul is built on the Rock of ages, stands all these shocks; and not only stands in, but profits by them. (Clarke)
To believe about Christ is not enough; we must believe in Him. We must come to Him as a Living Stone and become living stones, 1Pe_2:4-8. We must not only listen to Him; we must obey Him. There must be living, unbroken unity and fellowship between Him and us. Then we may proceed to erect the structure of godly and holy living which shall grow into a holy temple in the Lord, 1Co_3:10-15. May we receive, with meekness, the engrafting of the Word, which is able to save the soul! (Meyer)
Mat 7:26 KJV And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 KJV And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
In the Syrian summer, when the soil is baked hard by the intense heat, any spot will serve equally well as the site of a house. No one can say whether his neighbor has built well or ill-only the builder knows. But in the winter the rain falls in torrents and the valleys are filled with foaming floods, which sap all foundations that have not gripped the living rock. (Meyer)
And every one that heareth – and doeth them not – Was there ever a stricter system of morality delivered by God to man, than in this sermon? He who reads or hears it, and does not look to God to conform his soul and life to it, and notwithstanding is hoping to enter into the kingdom of heaven, is like the fool who built his house on the sand. When the rain, the rivers, and the winds come, his building must fall, and his soul be crushed into the nethermost pit by its ruins. Talking about Christ, his righteousness, merits, and atonement, while the person is not conformed to his word and spirit, is no other than solemn self-deception. (Clarke)
Mat 7:28 KJV And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 KJV For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
His audience could not but notice that Jesus taught with an authority lacking in the other teachers in His day, who would often only quote other Rabbis for their “authority.” Jesus spoke with inherent authority, and the authority of God’s revealed word.
b. The people were astonished at His teachings: Whenever God’s word is presented as it truly is, with its inherent power, it will astonish people, and set itself apart from the mere opinions of man.
i. When we really understand Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount, we should be astonished also. If we aren’t, then we probably haven’t really heard or understood what Jesus has said. (Guzik)
Having authority — Knowing the truth by implicit faith in God and personal experience with its power upon his own heart. As one who understood his subject thoroughly. As one knowing what he was talking about. 5
Not as the scribes — Who taught various speculations and wonderings. Wherever there is confusion and mysticism, we may be sure there is error and ignorance. (Russell)
As one having authority, and not as the scribes – The scribes were the learned people and teachers of the Jewish nation, and were principally Pharisees. They taught chiefly the sentiments of their Rabbis, and the traditions which had been delivered; they consumed much of their time in useless disputes and “vain jangling.” Jesus was open, plain, grave, useful, delivering truth as “became” the oracles of God; not spending his time in trifling disputes and debating questions of no importance, but confirming his doctrine by miracles and argument; teaching “as having power,” as it is in the original, and not in the vain and foolish manner of the Jewish doctors. He showed that he had authority to explain, to enforce, and to “change” the ceremonial laws of the Jews. He came with authority such as no “man” could have, and it is not remarkable that his explanations astonished them. (Barnes)