The Gospel According to Matthew

Chapter 5

Christ's sermon on the mount, 1, 2. Those who are blessed, 3-12; the salt of the earth, 13; the light of the world, 14-16. He came to fulfill the law, 17-20. What it is to kill, 21-26; to commit adultery, 27-32; to swear, 33-37. He exhorts to not be revengeful, 38-42; to love our enemies, 43-47; and to labor after perfection, 48.

1 And seeing the multitudes, he ascended a mountain. And when he was seated, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying,

3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in heaven is great. For thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot by men.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Men do not light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. Then it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light thus shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

17 "Do not think that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, that until heaven and earth pass away, neither one jot nor one tittle shall in any way pass from the law until all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of these least commandments and teaches men to do so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

21 "You have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not kill,' and whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment. 22 But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be in danger of the council. And whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be in danger of hell-fire. 23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 Leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly while you are in the way with him, lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you shall by no means come out from there until you have paid the uttermost quadrans.

27 "You have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you, that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

31 "It has been said, 'Whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.' 32 But I say to you, that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of lewdness, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced, commits adultery.

33 "Again, you have heard that it has been said to them of old time, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord your oaths.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, 35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, neither by Jerusalem, for it is 'the city of the great King,' 36 Neither shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, 'Yes, yes,' or, 'No, no.' For whatever is more than these comes of evil.

38 "You have heard that it has been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, that you do not resist the evil. But whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 And if any man wants to sue you at the law and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever constrains you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who would borrow from you, do not turn away.

43 "You have heard that it has been said, '"You shall love your neighbor," and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, 45 So that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do the tax collectors not even do the same? 47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do the tax collectors not even do so? 48 Therefore, be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Matthew, Chapter 5[➚]


[v.1-12] - Gospel Link: Luke 6:20-26.

[v.5] - Reference, Psalm 37:11.

[v.8a] - "pure in heart" - Only God can make a pure heart. See Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26-32.

[v.8b] - "they shall see God" - Reference 1st Corinthians 13:12; Revelation 22:4.

[v.13a] - "You are the salt of the earth" - At this time in history, one of the primary purposes of salt was that of a preservative. Salt was a great preservative of meat before refrigeration was used. Applying this function of salt with what Jesus is telling His disciples, we can get a good picture of the message that Jesus might have been conveying to His disciples. If His disciples are salt, then all of humanity is meat. Because of sin, mankind is corrupting and decaying. The disciples must be a sort of preservative to the people of the world by preaching the Gospel. Without the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, if the salt fails in its task, man will decay away. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But by the hearing of the Gospel, man can be justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare at this time His righteousness, so that He may be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Romans 3:24-26).

[v.13b] - Gospel Link: Mark 9:50; Luke 13:34-35.

[v.14a] - "You are the light of the world" - Reference, Philippians 2:14-16.

[v.14b] - "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid" - A city on a hill is hard to miss, especially at night when the city is lit up. Christ's disciples, Christians, are supposed to be like a city on a hill: they cannot be hid in a dark world. See Isaiah 60:1-3.

[v.15] - Gospel Link: Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:33.

[v.16a] - Even a small amount of light can displace a considerable amount of darkness. See how in verse 15 Jesus mentions that a single candle can provide light for all who are in a house.

[v.16b] - "Let your light thus shine before men" - Reference, Proverbs 4:18-19; Isaiah 60-1-3.

[v.16c] - Reference, Romans 13:12-14; 1st Peter 2:9-12, 1st John 1:5-10.

[v.17a] - Jesus says He has not come to abolish, or destroy, the law, but He has come to fulfill it. He is telling His followers that everything said in the Law, He fulfills it, and that all that was aid by the Prophets, refer to Him. Every ceremonial law, every sacrifice, every prophecy, every type and shadow shows us to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. "The law was our school-master to bring us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). See also Galatians 3:23-26. The Scriptures testify of Jesus (John 5:39) and we are to learn from Him (Matthew 11:29).

[v.17b] - Reference, Romans 10:4.

[v.18a] - Reference, Isaiah 40:8; 1st Peter 1:25.

[v.18b] - Gospel Link: Luke 16:17.

[v.19] - Christ is not setting up a new system of commandments, but He is rightly interpreting the commandments of the Old Testament, and that by using the Ten Commandments (v. 21-48). He is fulfilling His office as that Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 6:14) to teach with authority (Mark 1:21-22; Luke 4:31-32, 36).

[v.20] - The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was outwardly and perceived to be great by people (Matthew 23:5, 27-28). The righteousness of a Christian is to exceed that by being inward and of the heart and not seen by men (Matthew 6:1-8). Christians are to have their hearts circumcised (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Colossians 2:11-14). Christ's teachings were such that they cut to the heart where the real uncleanness and unrighteousness exists. A believer's righteousness is to be given, not by the works of the Law, but by the grace of God through the fulfillment of the Law by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross (Galatians 2:16, 3:1-14). He was the sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, given once and for all (Hebrews 10:11-14).

[v.21] - Quoting Exodus 20:13 (LXX). See also, Deuteronomy 5:17.

[v.22] - Reference, 1st John 3:15.

[v.25-26] - Gospel Link: Luke 12:58-59.

[v.27] - Quoting Exodus 20:14 (LXX). See also, Deuteronomy 5:18.

[v.31] - Quoting Deuteronomy 24:1.

[v.32] - Gospel Link: Luke 16:18.

[v.33] - Quoting Numbers 30:2. See also, Deuteronomy 23:21, 23.

[v.35] - Quoting Psalm 48:2.

[v.38] - Quoting Exodus 21:24 (LXX). See also, Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21.

[v.39-40] - Gospel Link: Luke 6:29-30.

[v.39] - Reference, Job 16:10; Isaiah 50:6; Lamentations 3:30; Luke 6:29.

[v.42] - Gospel Link: Luke 6:34-35.

[v.43-48] - Gospel Link: Luke 6:27-28, 32-33, 35-36.

[v.43] - Quoting Leviticus 19:18 (LXX).

[v.43] - "and hate your enemy" - This isn't quoted from the Old Testament (or at least from the available manuscripts), but rather I suppose it is an implied statement. From John Calvin's Commentary: "Hence we conclude, that the precept of the law, by which we are commanded to love our neighbor, is general. But the Scribes, judging of neighborhood from the disposition of the individual, affirmed that no man ought to be reckoned a neighbor, unless he were worthy of esteem on account of his own excellencies, or, at least, unless he acted the part of a friend. This is, no doubt, supported by the common opinion; and therefore the children of the world are not ashamed to acknowledge their resentments, when they have any reason to assign for them. But the charity, which God requires in his law, looks not at what a man has deserved, but extends itself to the unworthy, the wicked, and the ungrateful. Now, this is the true meaning which Christ restores, and vindicates from calumny; and hence it is obvious, as I have already said, that Christ does not introduce new laws, but corrects the wicked glosses of the Scribes, by whom the purity of the divine law had been corrupted."

[v.44] - Reference, Romans 12:14.