Posted: January 26th, 2023
There are three questions below. You will also notice a student response/posting to each of these questions.
Please READ the students’ postings and WRITE responses to them. Your comments will add a discussion thread for each. To be eligible for full credit, each response needs to be at least 150 words and offer fresh opinions and relevant new information, your own personal perspective or further questions about your colleague’s position.
Question 1: After reading Matthew 6 and 7 you can see that there are more hard sayings of Jesus in these chapters. Can you remember some of these sayings? In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says that our good deeds should be seen by people, but in Matthew 6:1 he says that our practice of righteousness should not be noticed by others. Is there a contradiction between these two statements? State and explain your answer!
ROBERTS POSTING – Just after the Beatitudes, Jesus continues in the subsequent chapters to address our inner attitudes that forms the pillar for our righteous living. Some of the verses he shares with us include Matthew 6:6 which teaches us how to pray; Matthew 6:25 which talks about how to deal with undue anxiety; and Matthew 7:1 which helps us to learn not live hypocritical lifestyles.
I do not sense any contradiction between Jesus’ wisdom teachings in Matthew 5:16 and Chapter 6:1. In Chapter 5:16, Jesus calls on us to do good deeds. Good deeds which entails a host of things to help others, without any selfish motive or boastfulness. The verse goes on to say that you are to do good deeds to help mankind not as a prerequisite to satisfying God. Those who benefit from your good deeds should in their own mind acknowledge your benevolent attitude and be thankful to the Lord, but not you. Secondly, no one should be coerced to appreciate your good deeds. This is what Chapter 6:1 talks about. The Lord encourages good deeds, but be mindful not to boast about it. If you are the “salt and light of the world” you live the principles of Christ. You are an ambassador of Christ for others to learn the lessons of living so that their lives could be turned around for the best. In simple terms, the aforementioned chapters complement each to supporting our genuine benevolent attitudes.
Question 2: Jesus speaks of ‘the way to life” as narrow and hard to find, with most people not finding even the entrance. Does this mean that most people will be lost forever? Doesn’t John 3:16 say that God so loves the world that He wants so save everyone? Why does Jesus at the end of the Sermon on the Mount describe his followers as “wise builders” in contrast with “foolish builders”?
ROBERTS POSTING- I remember very well years back in high school, I learned about pinhole camera in general science class. Our science tutor will demonstrate to us at the laboratory how to form a sharp, clear, crisp image on a receptor. Narrow the pinhole camera aperture to control the amount of light that passes through it, and lo and behold a sharp image is produced. The lesson I learned is that the will power to focus our attention on the most important things in life yields a good result. Does it come easy for many people? The answer is “No”. It takes a strong minded person who is grounded in the teachings of the Lord to live the life Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:13. If the “way to life” is not hard to find, religion will be of no use to mankind. There is so much distraction from seeking and living a righteous life. Sure I believe, until people make the conscious effort to practice Jesus’ wisdom teachings, many will be lost forever. John 3:16 states Christ is alive to save you only if you believe in him. It does not take reasoning, but faith to trust the Lord to lead you on the right path to life, and not destruction. At the end of the sermon on the mount, In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus explains the meaning of “the wise builder” as opposed to “a foolish builder”. The wise make decisions based on the principles of Jesus Christ, whiles the foolish rely on their own wisdom thus leading to despair. It’s a tough choice to make if you want to follow the way to life; which unfortunately does not give any other alternative than the Way of Jesus Christ.
SARA’S POSTING-In Matthew 6:6-8 He says But when you pray, go into our room. Close the door and pray to your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words, Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. I think He is being a little harsh here. He doesn’t want us to pray and carry on in church and then go off and not pray to Him. However, when we do pray in our homes, in secret, behind closed doors; He says get to the point, don’t discuss on and keep talking. In Matthew 7:1-3, do not judge or you too will be judged, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye an pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? He doesn’t want us to focus on other people’s issues or flaws, we should focus on ours and not judge them for it. I feel that in Matthew 6:1 He is saying that we shouldn’t boast on the good we do, or when we help people. We should just do what is right and not expect anything in return, no talking about it in a boastful way or bragging to others. We should just let people see and if they do, wonderful but going out and saying look at what I did, is not what God wants for us or what his message is all about. I don’t feel that it is contradictory, I feel that he is just explaining that we shouldn’t be overly excited or shouting our charity to the world, we should just help people and do what God wants us to do because we are followers of Him.
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