There’s a noticeable shift at Matthew 6:1 – 8 and beyond in Jesus’ most famous sermon.
He’s been addressing the ways people have created loopholes. For example, those saying, “God clearly said to love him and others . . . but certainly he didn’t mean THOSE people” (5:43). Instead, Jesus calls people back to true love for all people, no loopholes.
Now, he moves on to address hypocrisy . . . or what we might call platform. The word hypocrite comes from theatre. But think of it less as wearing a mask (i.e. saying one thing, doing another). That’s part of it, but if you think about a person who treats everything and everyone one else as part of their stage on which they perform, you’re getting closer. Jesus reminds us not everyone needs to know what you’re doing.
When I give is it to be seen as a generous person? Or is it to help those who need it? Are we doing good for a better platform, cultivating a persona, or are we only doing good to make our Father happy? He sees our secrets and our hearts (6:1 and 4).
True religion, love for God and others, is not a loophole, not a platform.
- We love using the Jesus Storybook Bible with Chyella. This week, there’s a couple stories taken from Matthew 6. If you don’t have a copy, we’ve attached the Storybook pages here.
- A sermon from a South African brother on Prayer.
- Some insights from scholar N. T. Wright on the Lord’s Prayer