Sermon on the Mount ~ Part M
We continue our study of the Sermon in the Mount, beginning in Mattityahu 6:25.
Do Not Be Anxious
This topic covers the practical implications of the preceding post in verses 19–24. People who serve God faithfully can trust Him to meet their material needs.
25 “Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life—what you will eat or drink; or about your body—what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest nor do they gather food into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are?
If God provides for birds, He will surely take care of His people.
27 Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why be anxious about clothing? Think about the fields of wild irises and how they grow. They neither work nor spin thread, 29 yet I tell you that not even Shlomo in all his glory was clothed as beautifully as one of these. 30 If this is how God clothes the grass in the field – which is here today and gone tomorrow, thrown in an oven – won’t He much more clothe you? What little trust you have!
How much more. This phrase signals a form of argument known in rabbinic literature as kal v’chomer (“light and heavy” ): if A is true, B must also be true. Explicit kal v’chomer arguments appear in the Brit Hadashah twenty-one times, the others being at Mattityahu 7:11, 10A:25, 12:12; Luke 11:13; 12:24, 28; Romans 5:9, 10, 15, 17; 11:12, 24; 1 Corinthians 12:22; 2 Corinthians 3:9, 11; Philippians 2:12; Philemon 16; Messianic Jews 9:14, 10:29, 12:25.
The Brit Hadashah uses kal v’chomer reasoning so often points to a foundational principle of Brit Hadashah hermeneutics overlooked by most Christian scholars. The Jews who wrote the Brit Hadashah participated in the thought-forms of their time, and these included certain principles of interpretation widely used to understand the Hebrew Bible. Traditional rabbinic viewpoints are an essential element to consider in understanding the text of the Brit Hadashah.
31 “So don’t be anxious, asking, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’, or ‘How will we be clothed?’ 32 For it is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. 33 But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Don’t worry about tomorrow—tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris (trouble) already! ~ Mattityahu 6:25-34.
Yeshua is not telling people to postpone their worrying for a day; He is instructing them to stop worrying altogether and rely on God’s gracious provision (see Philippians 4:6).
In our next post, we continue to explore the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount from Mattityahu’s Gospel.