Jesus forbids hypocritical judgment and unnecessary judgment. How often do we look with disdain on a brother or sister, through clouded spiritual eyes? The word picture used by Jesus makes the hypocritical judge look ridiculous. A man with a 2×4 sticking out of his eye tries to remove a grain of sand from another’s eye. We do not want this person to be our spiritual optometrist. To use an ancient example, let us be sure to clean off our own doorstep before we sweep that of others. This passage does not forbid the compassionate evaluation that is necessary to help a wayward brother or sister (Gal. 6:1-5 ; Jas. 5:19-20).
God is able, ready, and willing to grant his blessings to all who seek him (Jas. 1:18). Jesus says that parents are eager to provide for their children. God is our Heavenly Father and has far greater blessings to offer. God’s willingness to bless us leads to the “Golden Rule,” in verse 12. We should also bless others. In various cultures the essence of the Golden Rule is stated in negative form. Jesus calls on us to be proactive, not just reactive. Christians must step up and do the right thing in every case. Jesus indicates that the Old Testament Scriptures called for such behavior (Prov. 24:29). No one wishes to be mistreated, and this fact calls for right treatment to all men. How this could change the world!
Some so-called gods are portrayed as impossible to please and eager to punish. Not so with our God. He wishes to save us. However, he has requirements and righteous standards. The way to heaven is described as narrow, because God rules out sinful behavior. The road to hell is wide, with no restrictions. The choice is ours.
The Bible often warns of false prophets, or false teachers, beginning in the Old Testament (Deut. 18:20-22). In the New Testament, the word “prophesy” usually means the act of speaking for God, not necessarily foretelling the future. Unfortunately, not all teachers present the truth to us. God’s word may be mishandled and perverted (Gal. 1:7-9; 2 Tim. 2:15). We must be on guard and try all teachings by the Scriptures (1 John 4:1-2). Pretenders will not make the cut when Judgment Day comes. We absolutely must know and do the will of God (Matt. 7:21).
Now and then we hear of a building that collapses due to inferior materials or poor workmanship (building codes can be a good thing). Jesus must be the foundation of our individual lives, even as he is the foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:110). How are we building? When the storms of life beat against us, will we stand?
The last section teaches the futility of worry. It changes nothing, and it robs us of the energy we need for today. Worry diminishes our faith in the Father. Consider simple creatures and plant life. God cares for these, so how much more for us? Unbelievers run themselves ragged pursuing material things. How much better to trust God and do his will, and let things fall into place. We all have priorities. God’s concerns must come first. Then he will take care of all our needs. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live today.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.