May 12, 2024

Help for community life

Passage: Matthew 7:7-12; Luke 11:13
Service Type:

Theme: Through faith in Christ you have the rights of sonship; love your new brothers and sisters

According to most commentators, Matthew 7:1–12 falls into four sections: teaching on judgement (7:1–5); a proverb regarding discernment (7:6); a general statement about prayer (7:7–11); and a summary of the body of the Sermon on the Mount (7:12). Exactly how these four sections relate together has been a matter of debate with almost every commentator having a different solution. Given the fact that all the other discourses of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel evidence careful construction and internal coherence, it makes sense to expect the same from Matthew 7:1-12. Matthew has not given us a number of discrete and disconnected units of Jesus' teaching, rather, he has presented Jesus' teaching on appropriate judgement in one sustained argument. The essence of which is as follows:

"If you are bothered by some fault or failing of mine, would I not want you to...
(1) refrain from hasty, self-righteousness judgment and criticism (7:1);
(2) avoid giving advice with a holier-than-thou attitude (7:2);
(3) see if you have some similar flaw before pointing mine out to me (7:3-4);
(4) do all you can to overcome your own moral deficiency, thus setting me a good example (7:5);
(5) make sure you correct me in gentleness rather than chasing me away (7:6);
(6) pray for God to change you, me, and our relationship? (7:7-11)
Yes, I would. So that is how I should treat you (7:12)."

- G Doyle; Pearls, Pigs and the Golden Rule: A fresh look at Matthew 7:1-12.