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Old and New Testament.
"Sermon on the Mount" (Bloch)
Amplified: So if when you are offering your gift at the
altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
NLT: "So if you are standing before the altar in the
Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that
someone has something against you (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: So that if, while you are offering your gift at the
altar, you should remember that your brother has something against
you, you must leave your gift there before the altar and go away.
Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar of whole
burnt-offerings and there you remember that your brother has something
against you (Wuest:
Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'If, therefore, thou mayest bring thy
gift to the altar, and there mayest remember that thy brother hath
anything against thee,
THEREFORE IF YOU ARE
PRESENTING YOUR OFFERING AT THE ALTAR
(Mt 8:4; 23:19; Dt 16:16,17;
1Sal 15:22; Isa 1:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17; Ho 6:6; Amos 5:21, 22, 23, 24)
Charles Simeon writes...
THE explanation which our Lord has
given us of the sixth commandment, shews, that we are not to confine the
import of the commandments to the mere letter of them, but to regard
them as extending to the words of our lips, and the dispositions of our
hearts. Nor must we imagine that they are intended solely to prohibit
sin: they must be understood as inculcating all those virtues which are
opposed to the sin forbidden. This is evident from the connexion in
which our text stands with the preceding context. Our blessed Lord had
declared, that a wrathful word was in fact a species and degree of
murder: and from thence he takes occasion to inculcate the necessity of
exercising in every respect a spirit of love, so as, not only to
entertain no anger in one’s own heart against others, but so as not to
leave room for the exercise of it in the hearts of others towards us.
The direction which he gives us respecting it will lead us to shew,
I. The duty of seeking
reconciliation with men— Wild beasts are scarcely more prone to
injure their own species, than man is to oppress and injure his
fellow-man. Indeed, considering what tempers we have, and what tempers
exist in others, and what frequent occasions of interference with each
other must of necessity arise, it would be a miracle if any of us had so
conducted himself on all occasions, that no brother should on any
account “have ought against him.” We apprehend that no one who knows any
thing of his own heart, would profess himself so perfect, as never to
have done towards another any thing differently from what he would have
wished to be done towards himself. Supposing then that “a brother have
ought against us,” what is to be done? I answer, 1. We should be
willing to see our fault...2. We should be ready to ask pardon
for it...3. We should be desirous to make reparation for
it....Such is our duty towards an offended brother. (Read the entire sermon
Matthew 5:23,24 The Necessity of Seeking
Reconciliation with Men)
The setting is worship in the Temple
in Jerusalem (or church in our day).
(prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring -
means to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually
implying a transfer of something to that person. Here it refers to an
offering that can include gifts, prayers, or sacrifices.
Prosphero - 47x in 45v - Mt
2:11; 4:24; 5:23f; 8:4, 16; 9:2, 32; 12:22; 14:35; 17:16; 18:24; 19:13;
22:19; 25:20; Mk 1:44; 2:4; 10:13; Luke 5:14; 18:15; 23:14, 36; John
16:2; 19:29; Acts 7:42; 8:18; 21:26; Heb 5:1, 3, 7; 8:3f; 9:7, 9, 14,
25, 28; 10:1f, 8, 11f; 11:4, 17; 12:7. NAS renders prosphero =
bringing to(3), brought(2), brought to(8), brought up to(1), deals
with(1), get to(1),make an offering(1), offer(8), offered(12),
offering(4), offers(1), present(2), presented(1), presenting(1).
(thusiasterion from thusia = that which is offered as a
sacrifice - see
Altar) refers to any type of altar or object where gifts may be
placed and ritual observances carried out in honor of supernatural
beings. In the NT thusiasterion is employed to refer to a number
of different types of altars, including the altar for burnt offerings in
the Temple, the altar of incense, the altar which Abraham built, and the
heavenly altar mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Thusiasterion - 23x in 21v -
Matt 5:23f; 23:18ff, 35; Luke 1:11; 11:51; Rom 11:3; 1 Cor 9:13; 10:18;
Heb 7:13; 13:10; Jas 2:21; Rev 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7
In the present context "the altar"
refers to the one in the inner court of the Temple in Jerusalem. There
amidst a background of solemn worship, the worshiper experiences
recollection of a brother with something against him (see Mark 11:25)
and Jesus says this should prompt immediate efforts to be
reconciled for only then is formal worship acceptable.
One wonders how many in church each
Sunday would be well advised to pay heed to Jesus' instruction in this
passage? What would our worship services look like if this principle
were diligently practiced (under grace not law)?
The principle is obedience begets
genuine worship as Samuel recorded in his address to the
disobedient King Saul who had offered to the Lord sacrifices that were
to have been destroyed...
And Samuel said, "Has the LORD
as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the
voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and
to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)
In Psalm 51 apparently
motivated by David's sins of adultery and murder records a similar train
For Thou dost not delight in
sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt
offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a
contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17) (Spurgeon's
Spurgeon on verse 17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.
All sacrifices are presented to thee in one, by the man whose broken
heart presents the Saviour's merit to thee. When the heart mourns for
sin, thou art better pleased than when the bullock bleeds beneath the
axe. "A broken heart" is an expression implying deep sorrow, embittering
the very life; it carries in it the idea of all but killing anguish in
that region which is so vital as to be the very source of life. So
excellent is a spirit humbled and mourning for sin, that it is not only
a sacrifice, but it has a plurality of excellences, and is preeminently
God's sacrifices. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not
despise. A heart crushed is a fragrant heart. Men contemn those who are
contemptible in their own eyes, but the Lord seeth not as man seeth. He
despises what men esteem, and values that which they despise. Never yet
has God spurned a lowly, weeping penitent, and never will he while God
is love, and while Jesus is called the man who receiveth sinners.
Bullocks and rams he desires not, but contrite hearts he seeks after;
yea, but one of them is better to him than all the varied offerings of
the old Jewish sanctuary.
How are you doing in this area? Is
your worship perfunctory? hypocritical? devoid of obedience and a
brokenness over your sin?
AND THERE REMEMBER THAT YOUR
BROTHER HAS SOMETHING AGAINST YOU
(Ge 41:9; 42:21,22; 50:15, 16, 17; Lv 6:2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 1Ki 2:44; Lam
3:20; Ezek 16:63; Lk 19:8)
(mnaomai) means to recall information from memory. Why would one
"remember"? Undoubtedly the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit plays
the key roll in prompting such a recall. And when you remember act on
that truth. Don’t wait for your angry brother or sister to take the
first step. You take it, and take it quickly before things get worse!
Mnaomai - 23x in 23v - Mt
5:23; 26:75; 27:63; Lk 1:54, 72; 16:25; 23:42; 24:6, 8; John 2:17, 22;
12:16; Acts 10:31; 11:16; 1 Cor 11:2; 2Ti 1:4; Heb 2:6; 8:12; 10:17;
13:3; 2Pe 3:2; Jude 1:17; Rev 16:19
(adelphos from a = denoting unity + delphus = womb)
refers to one from the same womb, and in this case is used by Jesus more
generally to refer to one of the same nature, for all men are born into
Adam. So here Jesus refers to a fellow man as a brother
Jesus is calling for the
offender to take the initiative in this process. That is,
even if we hold nothing against him, if he is angry with or hates us, we
should do everything in our power to be reconciled to him. We might have
expected Jesus to focus primarily on the offended party, since they are
the most likely to feel anger towards another. Instead, in these verses
it is the offender who initiates the process of reconciliation.
Elsewhere Jesus urges the offended party to make the first move (Mt
18:15). Both share an obligation to work for resolution when there has
been a conflict. Ideally, the two would meet en route to one another and
settle their differences “on the way.”
How important is it to deal
with enmity, disagreements, animosity, or anger? Reconciliation is
so important that it takes priority over everything else. It even takes
precedence over worship. God would rather see us resolve our differences
than receive our offerings!
Let's get practical for a moment.
Do you know someone who is
angry with you?
Is there someone who has offended
you? How can you take
the initiative in each case to reconcile with that person?
Before attempting to reconcile, take some time to think through your
strategy. For example, reconciliation may be better attempted face to
face rather than over the phone. You may even want to write out what you
will say in advance. Note that there is no way to guarantee how the
other person will respond, but you can be certain of God’s help as you
“make every effort” to be at peace with all men.
Luke gives us an excellent example of
a new citizen of the Kingdom of heaven who put this into practice...
And Zaccheus (a chief tax
gatherer) stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my
possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of
anything, I will give back four times as much." And Jesus said to him,
"Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of
Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was
lost." (Luke 19:8-10)
The Preacher's Commentary has
the following illustration of reconciliation (albeit it deals with anger
in the one who remembers)...
At a communion service in the South
Pacific Islands, a man kneeling at the altar to receive the emblems
suddenly got up and moved to the back of the auditorium with an agitated
expression. Later he rejoined the communicants and participated in the
sacrament. When asked, following the service, about his action, he
revealed that he had seen the man kneeling at the other end of the altar
rail who had killed his father. He was so angry in his spirit that he
could not partake of the emblems until God enabled him to experience a
forgiving spirit. Just so, Jesus elevates reconciliation with one’s
brother to a greater importance than religious rites. And the ministry
of reconciliation was ultimately expressed by the Master who, while we
were enemies, died for us. (Augsburger,
M. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. Vol. 24: The Preacher's Commentary Series,
Volume 24: Matthew. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc)
(Ed note: see the serious warning regarding taking communion in
an unworthy manner in 1Cor 11:27-34 )
Today in the Word
has the following devotional on
Jesus' teaching in Mt 5:23-24...
Writer Shannon Woodward relates
this recent experience in a bookstore. A little boy came running into
the store and rushed up to his father who was calmly browsing the
children's books. The boy had a request to make, but before he could
finish, his father exploded and angrily told him to go back to the
family van. A few minutes later an older girl came into the store and
tried to talk to the father. But in a voice that turned every head in
the store, he screamed at her to go outside and stay put. As the girl
left red-faced, the man calmly resumed his browsing.
Woodward watched sadly, amazed at the way this father erupted with anger
and then browsed as if nothing had happened. Such scenes are painful to
witness, yet if we are honest with ourselves we would admit this is
often the way we approach our worship of God.
We may come into God's presence, ready to worship Him, yet we come
knowing that things are not right ""outside,"" where family or friends
are feeling the effects of our disrupted relationships with them.
God wants us to remove this hindrance before we bring Him our praise and
our gifts--a necessary step of preparation for worship that Jesus
addressed in the Sermon on the Mount... Applying this to our worship,
Jesus turned the situation around from what we might expect (Matt. 5).
The problem here is not what others have done to offend us, but what we
might have done to cause offense to a brother or a sister.
Why did Jesus state the case this way? Probably because we are a lot
quicker to forget our own offenses than we are to forget the offenses
other people commit against us. The altar Jesus was talking about was
located in the inner portion of the temple, where solemn worship took
place (v. 23).
Amplified: Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make
peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way;
first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
NLT: leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and
be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to
God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: you must leave your gift there before the altar and
go away. Make your peace with your brother first, then come and offer
Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: leave there your gift before the altar of whole
burnt-offerings and be going away. First be reconciled to your
brother, and then, having come, be offering your gift. (Wuest:
Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: leave there thy gift before the altar,
and go -- first be reconciled to thy brother, and then having come
bring thy gift.
YOUR OFFERING THERE BEFORE THE ALTAR AND
GO: aphes (2SAAM) ekei to
doron sou emprosthen tou thusiasteriou kai hupage (2SPAM)
(Mt 18:15, 16, 17; Job 42:8; Proverbs 25:9; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:17,18;
1Corinthians 6:7,8; 1Timothy 2:8; James 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 5:16;
Spurgeon comments that...
It is said that, in Hindostan,
there is a complete divorce of religion from morality, so that a man may
be supposed to be eminently religious even while living in the utmost
filthiness and vice; but it must never be so among us. We must never
imagine that God can accept an offering from us while we harbor any
enmity in our hearts. Perhaps, after reading this passage, you say, “If
I had anything against my brother, I would go to him at once, and seek
to be reconciled to him.” That would be quite right; but you must go
further than that, for Christ says, “If thou bring thy gift to the
altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee.”
It is much more easy to go to the man who has wronged you than to the
one whom you have wronged. Yet the second is evidently the clearer duty,
and should be attended to at once: neither can we expect the Lord to
attend to us unless we attend to this duty.
[word study] from
apo = prefix implies separation + hiemi =
put in motion, send)
conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation
and means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put
away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of
an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total
separation, from a previous location or condition. It means to send
forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something
away or of laying it aside. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed
the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot
drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave
or let go.
This verb presents the interesting
picture - "Let go of your offering".
(doron) a gift offered to God (eg, to honor Him, Mt 2:11). A
present. An offering (used to support gift to maintain divine service,
Lk 21:4 ~ the "offering box") .
Doron - 19x in 17v - Matt
2:11; 5:23f; 8:4; 15:5; 23:18f; Mark 7:11; Luke 21:1, 4; Eph 2:8; Heb
5:1; 8:3f; 9:9; 11:4; Rev 11:10. The NAS renders doron as gift(1),
gifts(8), given(2), offering(8).
(emprosthen) in front of.
Emprosthen - 48x in 45v -
Matt 5:16, 24; 6:1f; 7:6; 10:32f; 11:10, 26; 17:2; 18:14; 23:13; 25:32;
26:70; 27:11, 29; Mark 2:12; 9:2; Luke 5:19; 7:27; 10:21; 12:8; 14:2;
19:4, 27f; 21:36; John 1:15, 30; 3:28; 10:4; 12:37; Acts 10:4; 18:17; 2
Cor 5:10; Gal 2:14; Phil 3:13; 1 Thess 1:3; 2:19; 3:9, 13; 1 John 3:19;
Rev 4:6; 19:10; 22:8. The NAS renders it as ahead(3), before(30), higher
rank(2), in front(1), in front of(3), in the presence of(4), in the
Jesus' point is that anger and
hatred affect our relationship to God. As long as there is internal sin,
outward acts of worship are not acceptable to God. Reconciliation must
precede worship because unresolved conflict has priority and must be
settled. Settle the breach between you and your brother before you try
to settle the breach between you and God. Not to do that is to be a
hypocrite by asking for forgiveness without repenting.
Mark it down beloved. If you bring
anger to the altar, you cannot worship God, so get rid of the anger
quickly. Do not be deceived.
Is there someone God's Spirit is bringing to your mind to reconcile with
so that you might then worship Him in spirit and in truth?
The Father desires and seeks true worshipers (John 4:23). Don't put off
until tomorrow what you should deal with today. And remember your
obligation is only as far as it is possible (the other party may make it
totally impossible) for you to be at peace with all men (see
A clear, clean
is a wonderful thing.
BE RECONCILED TO YOUR
AND THEN COME AND
proton diallageqi (2SAPM) to adelphos sou, kai tote elthon
(AAPMSN) prosphere (2SPAM) to doron sou (Mt
23:23; 1Co 11:28)
(proton) means first in time, place, order or importance. Here Jesus
speaks of the priority, and the necessity that
reconciliation of an animosity should take over worship.
(diallasso from diá = denoting transition +
allasso [word study]
= to change - see
Reconcile) means to change one's feelings towards another and so to
become reconciled. It means to be restored to normal relations or
harmony with someone. This could apply to a enmity, animosity or a quarrel
in which the fault may be two-sided or one-sided. The context must show
which side the active enmity is on, but in this case it is the brother
who is somehow offended.
Jesus teaches that we should
take every reasonable step to promote an effect opposite of murder
(whether it is with or without guns or knives). In this case, instead of
murdering by hand or mouth, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are those
who should seek with all their power to establish right relationships
with their brothers.
Brothers is used in the sense not of the Christian
brotherhood but in the sense that all mankind is related through Adam's
lineage ("the brotherhood of mankind") and all are to be treated as
those made in the image of God.
(prosphero from pros = before + phero = bear) to
bear before and so to bring unto.
John MacArthur wisely comments
Obviously we cannot change
another person’s heart or attitude, but our desire and effort should be
to close the breach as much as is possible from our side and to hold no
anger ourselves even if the other person does. Regardless of who is
responsible for the break in relationship-and often there is guilt on
both sides-we should determine to make a reconciliation before we come
before God to worship. True worship is not enhanced by better
music, better prayers, better architecture, or even better preaching.
True worship is enhanced by better relationships between
those who come to worship. Worship may be improved by our staying
away from church until we have made things right with those with whom we
know our relationship is strained or broken. When there is animosity or
sin of any sort in our heart there cannot be integrity in our worship.
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament
Commentary Chicago: Moody Press)
Sinclair Ferguson draws an
Picture a man in church. He is
about to express his devotion to the Lord in worship and in his
offering. But he has not been enjoying fellowship with his brother.
There is disharmony in the relationship. Jesus says the man should leave
his offering, be reconciled to his brother, and then return to worship
God with a clear conscience and full heart. Is Jesus saying that the
only important thing in worship is right relationships with our fellow
men? Hardly! He recognizes that our relationship with God is primary,
but we always appear before God as those who are related, rightly or
wrongly, to our fellow men. What we are before God involves how we are
related to others (cf 1Jn 1:6, 7). And if we are at enmity with others,
how can we come into the Lord's presence with clean hands and a pure
heart (cf Mt 5:8-note)?
It is monstrous to think that he will find our hypocritical offering
acceptable. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1Sa 15:22). As Peter
shows, this principle extends to the home and family: husbands are to
treat their wives with respect and as heirs of the gracious gift of life
so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1Pe 3:7-note).
The principle is clear: right relationships with others are part of the
meaning of the commandment not to murder. They are essential if our
righteousness is to go down deeper than that of the scribes and
Sinclair: Sermon on the Mount :Banner of Truth)
Max Lucado quips...
As far as I know, this is the only
time God tells you to slip out of church early. Apparently, he’d rather
have you give your olive branch than your tithe. If you are worshiping
and remember that your mom is hacked-off at you for forgetting her
birthday, then get off the pew and find a phone. Maybe she’ll forgive
you; maybe she won’t. But at least you can return to your pew with a
clean conscience. (Lucado,
M. When God Whispers Your Name. Page 127. Dallas: Word Pub).
G Campbell Morgan writes
God seeks and values the gifts we
bring Him—gifts of praise, thanksgiving, service, and material
offerings. In all such giving at the altar we enter into the highest
experiences of fellowship. But the gift is acceptable to God in the
measure to which the one who offers it is in fellowship with Him in
character and conduct; and the test of this is in our relationships with
our fellow men. We are thus charged to postpone giving to God until
right relationships are established with others. Could the neglect of
this be the explanation of the barrenness of our worship?
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F B Meyer has the following
devotional thoughts entitled "First, Reconciliation" focusing on Mt
THERE IS a marked difference between
memory and recollection.
Memory resembles a great box or chest into which a man casts his
letters, accounts, and MSS.; recollection is the readiness, be it less
or more, with which he can lay his hand on what he requires. We know
that it is somewhere in our possession, we remember to have seen and
turned it over, but search as we may we cannot find or recall it.
But there is a moment of quickened recollection when we stand before
God: "When thou bringest thy gift to the altar and rememberest." As the
Divine searchlight plays upon our past life it reveals many things which
had passed from our mind. Conscience is a keen quickener of our powers
What has your brother against you? This--that you flamed out against him
in passion, with bitter, angry words, in hatred and contempt; or
this--that you have been sullen and sulky, scarcely answering his
advances, meeting his salutations with grudging courtesy. Perhaps you
have done him a positive wrong, and have taken from him his only
covering, or have forborne to help him when he stood in sore need (Ex
22:26, 27; 23:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
We are bidden to get right with man, as the first step to acceptance
with God--" first be reconciled to thy brother." Humility is necessary
in every approach to God, and nothing so humbles our pride as to confess
our faults to our brethren. Truth is necessary to all right dealings
with God, and nothing will so promote truth in our inward parts as to be
transparent and simple in our dealings with our fellows. Sincerity in
confession of sin is an essential beginning of peace with God, but how
can we be sure that our confession is sincere unless it costs us
something more than words. "'First, be reconciled with thy brother"--not
only with the brother of human flesh--but with our great Brother in the
Glory (Ge 1:17, 18, 19, 20, 21; He 2:11
[note]). Then comet Offer thyself, as thy gift; He
will accept thee, and thy gifts.
PRAYER Give unto us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, broken and contrite
hearts. Help us to do all that ought to be done to make amends, and
grant unto our brother the willingness to meet us with forgiveness and
peace. So shall we have peace with Thee, our Elder Brother, against whom
we have grievously sinned. AMEN. (Our Daily Walk)
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Today in the Word
has the following
devotional thoughts on Mt 5:23, 24...
When D. L. Moody was four years old,
his father died, leaving a large, impoverished family. The eldest son
ran away from home, but each night his mother put a light in the window,
hoping for his return. Mr. Moody recalled that when his older brother
did come home, he was barely recognizable behind a heavy beard. It was
only as he began to cry that Mrs. Moody realized it was her son and
invited him in. ""No, mother,"" he said, ""I will not come in until I
hear first that you have forgiven me."" Mrs. Moody threw her arms around
her son and brought him indoors. Moody's older brother was clearly in
the wrong and he knew it, which made his mother's gift of forgiveness
and reconciliation a special one. We as believers have the gift of
re-conciliation to offer others, and Jesus urges us to give it freely.
In fact, Jesus commands us to initiate reconciliation whether we are in
the right or in the wrong. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus doesn't define who
is the guilty party or who is responsible for the broken relationship.
The point is not to assign blame, but to make the situation right. The
same is true in the courtroom scene Jesus outlined in verses 25-26. He
didn't say the person being taken to court will definitely be found
guilty, although that seems to be the likely outcome if the case goes to
trial. It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong--again, the point is
to ""settle matters quickly.""
Taking the first step in re-conciliation is our responsibility as
believers. When we fail to do so, we often try to justify ourselves by
saying something like, ""I'm not mad at her, she's mad at me. It's her
problem. She needs to deal with it."" But Jesus turns that kind of logic
upside-down. God wants us to do everything we can to remove barriers and
offenses between us and other Christians. Otherwise, our acts of worship
are hollow to Him. That ought to be motivation enough to seek peace!
Let's admit it. These are tough commands to follow. Why? Because it's
difficult for us to set aside the issue of blame. When we feel we are
innocent, most of us want justice. It's only when we are in the wrong
that we want mercy.
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Our Daily Bread
has the following devotionals - These are used by permission of Radio
Bible Class (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Going Straight- How far would you travel to put
things right with a brother who hadn't spoken to you in 10 years? Would
you go 300 miles from Iowa to Wisconsin? On a riding lawn mower?
Unable to drive a car and despising bus travel, Alvin Straight did
exactly that in the intriguing film The Straight Story. It is the
true-life drama of a 73-year-old man who decided it was time to end the
silence, stop the hating, and break down the wall of anger he and his
brother had built between them.
As I watched the film in a packed theater, where the audience was silent
from beginning to end, I thought of all the broken relationships that
must have surfaced in the minds of people sitting there in the darkness.
I also pondered the words of Jesus about setting things right with those
from whom we've been estranged. He said, "If you bring your gift to the
altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be
reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew
Is there a relative, a friend, or a brother in Christ with whom you need
to make things right? Then why not go straight to that person and do it
today? —D C McCasland
Lord, let me feel the pain of a
And seek to heal that wounded one I pray;
Yes, I would take the reconciling role,
And bring an end to pain and strife today. —Hess
An offense against your neighbor
builds a fence between you and God.
><> ><> ><>
$7.23 Plus Pride- As I was studying the Old Testament
law about making restitution for theft and property loss, I began to
wonder how it applied to me. Immediately the words Bill's pump came to
mind. Months before, I had borrowed my neighbor's pump to inflate a
bicycle tire. It broke while I was using it. But I'm ashamed to admit
that I returned it without saying anything to him.
It was obvious that God wanted me to confess my wrong to Bill and buy
him a new pump. But my rationalizations were swift: It was old, and it
would have broken anyway. It would be embarrassing to reveal my failure
and show what a weak Christian I am.
My excuses sounded hollow. I knew the Lord wanted me to make it right.
So I bought a pump and went over to Bill's house, but he was out of
town. At church the next morning, I started to drop my offering in the
plate and remembered, "First be reconciled to your brother, and then
come and offer your gift" (Mt. 5:24). The money went back in my pocket.
When Bill returned, I told him what I'd done, apologized, and gave him
the new pump. He graciously understood. It cost $7.23 plus pride--a
small price to restore a relationship with a neighbor and a clear
conscience with God. --D C McCasland
Show us, Lord, where we have failed
And sinned against a brother;
Give us courage to confess
Our faults to one another. --Sper
The only way to make things right is
to admit that you've been wrong.
you are with him on the
you over to the
and you be
Amplified: Come to terms quickly with your accuser while
you are on the way traveling with him, lest your accuser hand you over
to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the
way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the
judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast
NLT: Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is
too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer,
and thrown in jail. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: Come to terms quickly with your opponent while you
have the chance, or else he may hand you over to the judge and the
judge in turn hand you over to the officer of the court and you will
be thrown into prison.
Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Be friendly and well-disposed toward your opponent in a
suit at law, quickly while you are with him in the road, lest at any
time the opponent deliver you over to the judge and the judge to the
officer, and into prison you are thrown. (Wuest:
Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'Be agreeing with thy opponent quickly,
while thou art in the way with him, that the opponent may not deliver
thee to the judge, and the judge may deliver thee to the officer, and
to prison thou mayest be cast,
FRIENDS QUICKLY WITH
YOUR OPPONENT AT LAW WHILE YOU ARE WITH HIM ON THE WAY: isthi (2SPAM)
eunoon (PAPMSN) to antidiko sou tachu eos otou ei (2SPAI) met' autou en
(Genesis 32:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,13-22; 33:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11; 1Sa
25:17-35; Pr 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 25:8; Luke 12:58,59; 14:31,32)
Charles Simeon writes...
IT is thought by many, that
prudential considerations are unworthy the attention of a Christian.
That he ought to be influenced by higher principles, we readily admit.
The love of Christ should be to him in the place of all other
incentives, so far at least that he should not need any other motive for
doing the will of God. But Christians are men, and feel the force of
every principle which can operate upon the human mind: and therefore
subordinate motives may fitly be proposed to them in aid of those which
are more worthy of their regard. Our blessed Lord, having explained the
sixth commandment, inculcates the duties contained in it, particularly
that of seeking reconciliation with an offended brother: and this he
does, first from the consideration of the offence which a want of a
conciliatory spirit gives to God, and next from a consideration of the
danger to which it exposes ourselves. In the former view we have treated
of it in the foregoing verses; in the latter view we are to speak of it
at this time. But the peculiarly emphatic manner in which our Lord
speaks in the words before us, will naturally, and almost necessarily,
lead our thoughts beyond the mere concerns of time, to another tribunal
before which we must all appear. (Read the entire sermon -
Matthew 5:25, 26 The Importance of Seeking
Reconciliation with God - Page 123)
Literally this read "be well
minded towards" where the verb "be" (1510)
is a command in the
calling for it to be the continual attitude and action of citizens of
the kingdom of heaven.
Spurgeon writes that...
There is nothing like ending disputes
at once, before the rancor grows, and your adversary becomes determined
to push you to extremes. Oh, for more of that spirit of yielding! You
know how people say, “If you tread on a worm: it will turn;” but,
brethren, a worm is not an example for a Christian, even if the poor
wounded creature does turn toward you in its agony. If you turn, turn to
kiss the hand that smites you, and to do good to them that evil entreat
Make friends (2132)
(eunoeo from eúnoos = benevolent, kindly from eú =
well + noús = mind) means be well–disposed, well-minded towards
or well–intentioned toward another, to be friends (Mt 5:25) and inclined
to satisfy by paying or compromising. Jesus is using an illustration
from the common practice of imprisoning a person for an unpaid debt. He
is teaching that if someone holds a debt of any sort against us, he is
to make it good as soon as possible and before it is too late and he is
(tachu) pertains to a very short extent of time and so means this
making of friends is to be carried out hurriedly, speedily or with
haste. Jesus is calling for reconciliation to be sought eagerly,
aggressively and quickly even if it involves self-sacrifice. Paul
alludes to the fact that it is better to be wronged than to allow a
dispute between brethren to be a cause for dishonoring Christ
Actually, then, it is already a
defeat for you, that you
have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not
rather be defrauded? (1Cor. 6:7).
(antidikos from antí = against + díke = cause or
suit at law) refers to an opponent in a lawsuit. Antidikos
is used once of the devil (see notes
1 Peter 5:8) the accuser of the
brethren. Roman law provided that a plaintiff could bring the accused
with him to face the judge. The two themselves could settle the matter
on the way, but not after the court became involved.
Here the antidikos, the
opponent or adversary is some kind of opponent to whom we apparently
owe money and who is apparently in a position to take legal action,
without further specific information as to his identity or the nature of
On the way or on the road
while not specific adds obviously emphasis to the urgency of the
call to reconcile. In other words, don't wait until you get to the lobby
of the courthouse! Once the legal process is set in motion, the judge
will pass sentence and its too late to settle. Don't miss the golden
opportunity to settle. It is interesting that the background here seems
to be non-Jewish since the Jews did not imprison for debt.
Freeman in Manners and Customs of
the Bible has the following summary of Mt 5:25:...
According to Roman law, if a
person had a quarrel that he could not settle privately, he had the
right to order his adversary to accompany him to the praetor (Roman
magistrate ranking below a consul and having chiefly judicial
functions). If he refused, the prosecutor took someone present to
witness by saying, “May I take you to witness?” If the person consented,
he offered the tip of his ear, which the prosecutor touched; a form that
was observed toward witnesses in some other legal ceremonies among the
Romans. Then the plaintiff (one bringing the legal action) might drag
the defendant to court by force in any way, even by the neck, but
worthless persons such as thieves and robbers might be dragged before
the judge without the formality of calling a witness. If on the way to
the judge the difficulty was settled, no further legal steps were taken.
Jesus refers to this custom in the text. When the accused is thus
legally seized by the accuser, he is urged to make up his quarrel while
on the way to the judge, so that no further legal process should be
J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. Manners & Customs of the Bible. 1996. Whitaker
SO THAT YOUR OPPONENT MAY NOT
HAND YOU OVER TO THE JUDGE AND THE JUDGE TO THE OFFICER, AND YOU BE
THROWN INTO PRISON: mepote se parado (3SAAS) o antidikos to krite, kai o
krites to huperete, kai eis phulaken blethese; (2SFPI) (Job
22:21; Psalms 32:6; Isaiah 55:6,7; Luke 13:24,25; 2Cor 6:2; Hebrews
3:7,13; Hebrews 12:17) (1Ki 22:26,27)
from anti =
against + dike = a cause or suit at law) was used first as a word
for an opponent in a lawsuit and then came to mean an adversary or enemy
without reference to legal affairs. It describes one who is actively and
continuously hostile toward someone. An adversary is one that
contends with, opposes, or resists.
Antidikos - 5x in 4v - Matt
5:25; Luke 12:58; 18:3; 1 Pet 5:8. NAS renders it as adversary(1),
opponent(3), opponent at law(1).
Hand over (3860)(
paradidomi [word study]
from para = alongside,
beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the
basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something,
especially to give over to the power of another. Synonyms used
for paradidomi include surrender, yield up, entrust, deliver up,
Paradidomi -119x in 117v -
Matt 4:12; 5:25; 10:4, 17, 19, 21; 11:27; 17:22; 18:34; 20:18f; 24:9f;
25:14, 20, 22; 26:2, 15f, 21, 23ff, 45f, 48; 27:2ff, 18, 26; Mark 1:14;
3:19; 4:29; 7:13; 9:31; 10:33; 13:9, 11f; 14:10f, 18, 21, 41f, 44; 15:1,
10, 15; Luke 1:2; 4:6; 9:44; 10:22; 12:58; 18:32; 20:20; 21:12, 16;
22:4, 6, 21f, 48; 23:25; 24:7, 20; John 6:64, 71; 12:4; 13:2, 11, 21;
18:2, 5, 30, 35f; 19:11, 16, 30; 21:20; Acts 3:13; 6:14; 7:42; 8:3;
12:4; 14:26; 15:26, 40; 16:4; 21:11; 22:4; 27:1; 28:17; Rom 1:24, 26,
28; 4:25; 6:17; 8:32; 1 Cor 5:5; 11:2, 23; 13:3; 15:3, 24; 2 Cor 4:11;
Gal 2:20; Eph 4:19; 5:2, 25; 1 Tim 1:20; 1 Pet 2:23; 2 Pet 2:4, 21; Jude
1:3. The NAS renders paradidomi as betray(13), betrayed(9),
betraying(9), betrays(3), commended(1), committed(3),deliver(10),
deliver up(7), delivered(17), delivered over(2), delivered up(16),
delivering(3), delivers up(1), entrusted(3),entrusting(1), gave over(3),
gave up(3), given over(1), handed down(3), handed over(4), permits(1),
put(1), putting(1),risked(m)(1), taken custody(2), turn over(1).
Judge (2923) (krites)
is one who has the right to render a decision in legal matters, one who
passes judgment on anything or who makes decisions based on examination
and evaluation (refers to both human and divine judges - God in Acts
Krites - 19x in 17v -
Matt 5:25; 12:27; Luke 11:19; 12:14, 58; 18:2, 6; Acts 10:42; 13:20;
18:15; 24:10; 2 Tim 4:8; Heb 12:23; Jas 2:4; 4:11f; 5:9
(huperetes from hupó = under, beneath + erétes = a
rower or eresso = to row) is literally an under rower or an
under-oarsman on the ship with several ranks of rowers. These were the
men down in the ship's, doing one thing -- rowing and with their eyes on
one man, the man standing at the front of the hull, shouting "Row, Row,
Huperetes - 20x in 20v - Matt
5:25; 26:58; Mark 14:54, 65; Luke 1:2; 4:20; John 7:32, 45f; 18:3, 12,
18, 22, 36; 19:6; Acts 5:22, 26; 13:5; 26:16; 1 Cor 4:1. The NAS renders
huperetes as attendant(1), helper(1), minister(1), officer(1),
Huperetes described the bottom rower, the
galley-slave, then any servant, the attendant in the synagogue (Luke
4:20). Luke describes John Mark in his relation to Barnabas and Saul
(Acts 13:5) as a huperetes. Luke also applies huperetes to the
“ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2). The idea is that of a
subordinate, a servant, an attendant, or an assistant in general. Here
Jesus refers to the subordinate official who waited to accomplish the
commands of his superior.
(phulake from phulasso = watch, keep from escaping, be on
guard) describes the place where someone is watched, guarded or kept in
custody and thus a prison. In context Jesus is referring to debtor’s
prison, (as implied by the phrase "until you have paid up the last
cent") where the person could work to earn back what he had defrauded.
Phulake - 47x in 45v - Matt
5:25; 14:3, 10, 25; 18:30; 24:43; 25:36, 39, 43f; Mark 6:17, 27, 48;
Luke 2:8; 3:20; 12:38, 58; 21:12; 22:33; 23:19, 25; John 3:24; Acts
5:19, 22, 25; 8:3; 12:4ff, 10, 17; 16:23f, 27, 37, 40; 22:4; 26:10; 2
Cor 6:5; 11:23; Heb 11:36; 1 Pet 3:19; Rev 2:10; 18:2; 20:7. The NAS
renders phulake as guard(1), imprisonment(1),
imprisonments(2), prison(34), prisons(3), time of the night(1),watch(4).
Jesus is using this illustration from
secular life as a picture of sin against another person. He is
emphasizing that such sin, like unpaid debts, must be resolved quickly
to avoid having to face a sentence from the divine Judge. We are
to make every effort, with no delay, to make our relationship right with
our brother (not speaking of Christian brothers but of mankind in
general) before our relationship can be right with God and we can avoid
MacDonald notes that...
While there is some disagreement
among scholars about the identity of the people in this parable, the
point is clear: if you are wrong, be quick to admit it and make things
right. If you remain unrepentant, your sin will eventually catch up with
you and you will not only have to make full restitution but suffer
additional penalties as well. And don’t be in a hurry to go to court. If
you do, the law will find you out, and you will pay the last penny.
(MacDonald, W., &
Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and
New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Hagner sums up Mt 26-27 noting
In His exegesis of the truest meaning
of the Mosaic commandment—and presentation of the level of righteousness
required by the kingdom—Jesus goes far beyond the letter of the text
(where some may have been inclined to stop). By his explication of “thou
shalt not murder,” Jesus penetrates to the spirit of the commandment.
Since the spring of a person’s conduct is the heart, or inner person,
the transforming power of the kingdom must be especially experienced
there. Anger and insults spoken from anger are evil and corrupting, and
they therefore call forth God’s judgment, just as the act of murder
itself does. Accordingly, the worship and service of God cannot be
performed as long as anger infects the soul. Thus, the recipient of the
grace of the kingdom is one who initiates and seeks reconciliation, both
with members of the community of faith and with adversaries (cf. Mt
5:9). The underlying and key message of these astonishingly
authoritative words is that a person is held accountable for his or her
angry thoughts, not merely for external acts of violence against others.
Here, as in the beatitudes, the truly revolutionary character of the
kingdom and its ethics makes itself felt. (Hagner,
D. A. Vol. 33A: Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1-13. Word Biblical
Commentary Page 118. Dallas: Word, Incorporated)
Virgil Hurley has the
following illustration entitled "Even in Wartime"
On April 1, 1945, in the Taiwan
Strait, the U.S. submarine Queenfish fired multiple torpedoes at what
the ship’s radar suggested was a Japanese destroyer. When the sub later
pulled aboard the only survivor, the captain learned he had sunk the Awa
Maru, a Japanese cargo ship the U.S. State Department had guaranteed
safe passage for a round-trip from Japan to Singapore. With white
crosses painted on her hull and two thousand tons of relief supplies for
American soldiers in Japanese prison camps in her hold, the Awa Maru was
to pass unharmed through the gauntlet of submarines swarming the depths
in her path. The Queenfish never received a clear version of that order.
On April 17, the U.S. State
Department and the U.S. Navy issued an official apology to the Japanese
government, offering to replace the Awa Maru with a similar ship. It
didn’t have to be done because the war ended four months later.
Most of our apologies will not be so
dramatic, but, when we are wrong, they should be as direct. We should
assume total responsibility for our mistakes and offer restitution if at
all possible. Accepting more than our share of guilt and allowing
another more than his share of innocence disarms the egotism that won’t
and empowers the humility that will … apologize. (Hurley,
V. Speaker's Sourcebook of New Illustrations Page 8. Dallas: Word
TRULY I SAY TO YOU, YOU WILL
NOT COME OUT OF THERE UNTIL YOU HAVE PAID UP THE LAST CENT
(Mt 18:34; 25:41,46; Luke 12:59; 16:26; 2Thessalonians 1:9; James 2:13)
(Amen from aman = be firm, steady) was a term of strong,
intense affirmation and means firm, trustworthy, surely. Amen
acknowledges that which is valid and binding. The OT often used "Amen"
at the end of a sentence to confirm the preceding words and invoke their
Only the Lord Jesus uses "Amen"
at the beginning of a sentence and when He began by saying in essence "I
tell you the truth" it was time to be quiet and listen for this is a
weighty statement that you need to hear.. "Amen" thus guarantees
the truth of His saying and affirms His authority. In the present
context Jesus uses "Amen" to confirm the special importance of
what He was about to say. Jesus was saying, “I say this to you
absolutely, without qualification and with the fullest authority.”
Jesus not infrequently
mentions the peril of judgment is a theme in Jesus' teaching to stress
the fact that these instructions are not optional for men and women who
are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. To neglect or ignore what Jesus
says has awful consequences as indicated by the emphatic phrase "you
will not come out". In fact He uses the "double negative" (ou
me) which strengthens the denial and says in essence, "no never", "not
at all", "in no case". These are strong words that all need to heed.
In Jesus' instruction to
Peter (and all of us) on what forgiveness seven times seventy means,
Jesus emphasized that the forgiven but then unforgiving slave would be
"And his lord, moved with anger,
handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed
him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not
forgive his brother from your heart." (Mt
verses 25,26 paraphrasing them as follows...
as if Jesus were saying, “Be
not surprised about the urgency of my command that you be reconciled;
for, should it be that you were to pass from this life with a heart
still at variance with your brother, a condition which you have not even
tried to change, that wrong would testify against you in the day of
judgment. Moreover, dying with that spirit of hatred still in your
heart, you will never escape from the prison of hell.” (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. Vol. 9: New Testament commentary : Exposition of
the Gospel According to Matthew. Page 301. Grand Rapids: Baker Book
Let me add to Hendriksen's comment
that the emphasis I would place is on his statement "a condition which
you have not even tried to change". Jesus is not saying we can earn our
salvation or lose our salvation. What He is saying is that if you are
genuinely saved, you are in a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31, 32, 33, 34), possess
a new heart and a new Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26, 27), and so you have the
motivation (the Law is now written in your heart and the Spirit will
cause you to walk in God's statutes) to seek reconciliation. The person
who never has any desire whatsoever to seek reconciliation is not
manifesting a new heart which seeks to deal with hatred. Now, you may be
asking "How far do I go? Is the burden on me entirely? What happens when
the one in adversarial relation refuses?" The answer is when you have
done all in your power to seek to bring about a reconciliation, and the
one at enmity refuses, the guilt will rest on the adversary. Jesus
Himself sought reconciliation with evil men who repeatedly refused and
who themselves will pay the penalty.
These two examples are not
pieces of advice, or laws, either for church behaviour or for solving
legal problems! They are, rather, illustrations of how vital it is to
have right relationships with others. The illustration of the man in
church underlines the necessity of reconciliation. The
illustration of two men going to court underlines the urgency of
reconciliation. Animosity is a time bomb; we do not know when it
will `go off.' We must deal with it quickly, before the consequences of
our bitterness get completely out of control. Most human relationships
that are destroyed could have been preserved if there had been
communication and action at the right time. Jesus says that the right
time is as soon as we are conscious that we are at enmity with our
brother (Matt. 5:23).... Jesus is telling us that we should, as far as
possible, remove all basis for enmity. But he is not urging us to share
every thought in our hearts during the process of reconciliation. Our
secret thoughts and sins will not be sanctified by telling others about
them. Doing so has led many Christians (and those they have spoken to)
into unhappy and sometimes disastrous situations. Jesus is not telling
us to 'hang out our dirty linen in public,' but rather to deal
urgently and fully with all breakdowns in fellowship before they lead to
spiritual assassination. (Ferguson,
Sinclair: Sermon on the Mount :Banner of Truth)
(Bolding and italics added)
Paid up (591)
(apodidomi from apó = from + didomi = give) means
to give back and speaks of fulfilling an obligation or expectation as in
paying one's taxes or paying wages owed.
Apodidomi - 48x in 46v
- Matt 5:26, 33; 6:4, 6, 18; 12:36; 16:27; 18:25f, 28ff, 34; 20:8;
21:41; 22:21; 27:58; Mark 12:17; Luke 4:20; 7:42; 9:42; 10:35; 12:59;
16:2; 19:8; 20:25; Acts 4:33; 5:8; 7:9; 19:40; Rom 2:6; 12:17; 13:7; 1
Cor 7:3; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Tim 5:4; 2 Tim 4:8, 14; Heb 12:11, 16; 13:17; 1
Pet 3:9; 4:5; Rev 18:6; 22:2, 12. The NAS renders apodidomi
as account*(1), award(1), fulfill(2), gave back(2), give(3), give
back(1), given over(1),giving(1), make(m)(1), paid(2), paid up(1),
pay(2), pay back(4), recompense(1), render(7), repay(10), repayment to
be made(1), repays(1), returning(1), sold(3), yielding(1), yields(1)
(kodrantes) is the same as assárion, a Roman brass coin equal to
one tenth of a denarion (the usual pay for a day's labor). It was
a small brass coin equal to two leptá (mite) the smallest coin in
use among the Jews.
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