Sometimes it seems a bit scattered – all over the place. I’d wondered for a while about the sermon on the mount, as He seems to jump from one topic to another in a somewhat haphazard manner.
ESV Bible – Matthew 7:1-14
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Ask, and It Will Be Given
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
The Golden Rule
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few…
1-5, “Don’t judge others”6, “Don’t waste your time trying to preach to unbelievers who refuse to believe.”7-11, “Ask God for stuff, and He’ll give it to you.”12, “The Golden Rule”.13-14, “You must believe the right doctrine!”15-…, “False prophets, etc”
Which although it fits nicely with the verse numbers, and the named paragraphs, jumps all over the place in terms of topic.
Check out 18:15-35, (the parable of the unrepentant servant, etc) as well as 6:14, just before this bit of the sermon as well, then Romans 2, 1 John (the whole letter…), and so on.
God seems pretty insistent about us forgiving others, and Him NOT forgiving us if we don’t.
How can God forgive us when we don’t forgive others? What if v.6 is actually about us Christians being the dogs & the swine? When we don’t forgive others…
So then that ties v.6 in to the bigger picture.
I imagine Jesus trying to get his thought across, but almost stumbling over his sentences. Stopping, starting, trying again, trying to paint enough pictures that they would understand.
So then. v7-11. (In the style of biblical re-interpretation popularized by the amazing Adrian Plass)
So Jesus pauseth, pushéd back his hair distractedly, and triethed another angle: “Look guys, God giveth to you, SO FREAKING GENEROUSLY, getst ye over yourselves already, and be generous to others… (includeth forgiving them)”(DSV).
Which ties in nicely, actually.
Then the rest of the chapter, taken in the same light, also works.