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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 6

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-13

1 The Pharisees deemed alms-giving, prayer and fasting the three most eminent exhibitions of piety, for alms was the ideal expression of their relation to their neighbor, prayer of their intercourse with God, and fasting of self-discipline. Hence the Lord takes up these three and exposes the hypocrisy which performs them in public and provokes the applause of men, rather than the praise of God.

2 The word alms denotes an accompaniment of mercy. Hence we are not surprised that it is entirely absent in the exhortations for the nations which are based on grace. We do not “do” alms, as a work of righteousness, in order to get the approval of men or even the smile of God, but give gratuitously in thankful response for benefits already received by grace. We are not working for wages, but offer our services as a thank-offering for gratuities already ours in Christ, even though we know that He will reward those who serve and suffer for His sake.

5 These instructions regarding prayer come very close to us, for our abhorrence of hypocrisy should be much more pronounced than theirs. Perhaps a succinct way of putting it is, Never say your prayers; always pray them. Real prayer is possible only under the urge of the holy

Spirit, and shuns the possible approbation of men, for it is meant for God alone [( cf page 332 , 15).]

9-13 Compare Luk_11:2-4 .

9 This is not the Lord's prayer, but His model for the disciples' petitions. Since He has just been condemning wordiness and loquacity in prayer, He gives them an example of how to say much with few words. It was far from His intention that this should become a form for repetition, especially in this day of grace when part of it is meaningless and contrary to present truth. “The forgiveness of offenses in accord with the riches of His grace” ( Eph_1:7 ) is far, far beyond the measure in which we forgive others. Moreover, our forgiveness is not at all dependent on our extending this favor to others. With them it was probational and temporary; with us it is irrevocable and eternal. The prayers for our emulation are found in Ephesians. The latter half of the first chapter and the whole of the third chapter of that epistle will teach us what to pray for. It is all concerned with a later outpouring of grace which was a profound secret during our Lord's sojourn on earth. This marvelous prayer is exquisite in its perfections. Its seven petitions are divinely divided into three for the glory of God, and four for the frailty of man. His name, His kingdom, His will. It is His future kingdom which will come when His will is done on earth. At that time we will have our portion in His celestial administrations, so that our prayers should be much wider in scope than this. Man's needs are sustenance, release from past failures and future trials, and, especially in relation to the kingdom, deliverance from the power of that wicked one who will do his utmost to corrupt and destroy it. Our Lord would not have them pray for that which God would not give. Every petition in it will be fulfilled, but not until the kingdom has come. Then, and not till then, will they be safe from the wicked one, for he will be bound in the submerged chaos. Not till then will their trials be over, their debts remitted, their daily sustenance assured; not till then will His will be done on earth, or His name be hallowed by a holy nation. We may rest assured that every prayer indited by His Spirit will be fulfilled in due course. The only uncertain element is time, and that is well known to God.

Verses 14-34

14-15 Compare Mar_11:25-26 .

14 Forgiveness now is according to the riches of His grace ( Eph_1:7 ), not according to our forgiveness of others. The believers in Israel failed at this point. Their forgiveness was withdrawn because they refused the same mercy to the other nations. But the believers of the nations were never forgiven in this probationary fashion.

19-21 Compare Luk_12:33-34 .

19 Treasures were often hid in concealed pits in the ground, where thieves would need to dig to find them. But nothing is safe on earth. Only that which we give is ours beyond the possibility of loss.

22-23 Compare Luk_11:33-36 . See Pro_28:22 ; Mar_7:22 .

22 The Pharisees tried to make the best of both worlds. They wanted treasure on earth as well as in heaven. Their eyes were afflicted with double sight, which is worse than blindness. They wanted to worship both God and mammon.

24 Compare Luk_16:13 . See Jam_4:4 ; 1Jn_2:15 .

25 There is a blessed progression in the experience of God's saints as the purpose of His grace becomes more fully known. The Psalmist could sing ( Psa_55:22 ) “Fling what He grants you on Jehovah, And He will sustain you: He will not allow the righteous to slip for the eon.”

Peter sounds a higher strain when he writes to the dispersion, “tossing your entire worry on Him, seeing that He is caring concerning you” ( 1Pe_5:7 .). But how much loftier is the position of Paul, as he exhorts us, “Let nothing be worrying you, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, that is superior to every frame of mind, shall be garrisoning your hearts and your apprehensions in Christ Jesus” ( Php_4:6-7 ). The Psalmist struggled Under a burden with the help of God, Peter got rid of the weight, but Paul prevents and replaces it with peace and thanksgiving.

25-34 Compare Luk_12:22-31 .

29 We cannot be certain of the exact flower intended by our Lord from the somewhat general term used, but the brilliant scarlet anemone, which flourishes in all parts of Palestine in great profusion seems to be the only one which fully answers all the conditions. Its great abundance and rich beauty fit it perfectly for the illustration used by our Lord. The figure is full of spiritual refreshment. Clothing is that which meets the eye and corresponds to the character of the wearer. Solomon's robes were tokens of his royal station. Pharisaic righteousness He has shown to be a hypocritical pretense. The anemones suggest that God can supply His saints with divine apparel more beauteous than that of Solomon. In a word, He not only can clothe them in splendid style, but He can make them kings to rule the nations of the earth.

33 See 1Ki_3:13 ; Psa_34:9 ; Psa_37:25 ; Psa_84:11 ; Mar_10:2930 1Ti_4:8 .

1-2 Compare Luk_6:37-38 .

1 This has no reference to God's judgment, but to the relations of man with man, as explained in the next paragraph. Should self-judgment precede the judgment of others it would probably do away with judging. One who has a beam in his eye, and knows it, will think little of the mote in another's eye, So the Lord sought to turn the censorious critics of His day to an examination of their own shortcomings.

3-5 Compare Luk_6:41-42 .

6 See Pro_9:7-8 ; Pro_23:9 .

6 Both dogs and hogs were unclean according to the law. The Lord Himself followed this principle when He spoke in parables to those without, and kept the holy and precious truth for His own disciples. We are hardly justified in “applying” these opprobrious terms to immature saints who are not yet able to bear more than milk.

7-11 Compare Luk_11:9-13 .

7 See 21:22 Joh_14:13-14 ; Joh_15:7 ; 1Jn_3:22 ; 1Jn_5:14-15 .

7 This, of course, is limited to prayer to God. He can and will respond to those who ask for what they need, or seek what is hid, or knock at closed doors. But the answer may not be realized until the kingdom comes. We have no right or reason to expect God to change His plans and purposes in order to carry out our whims. We are not aware what we should be praying for, but the spirit is pleading for us with inarticulate groanings ( Rom_8:26 ).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 6". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-6.html. 1968.
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