A Verse Exposition Of Matthew - Charles H. Spurgeon - ebook
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THE TRUSTED COMMENTARY COLLECTION is a new release of much loved and oft used commentaries.Each commentary is beautifully formatted with every verse given an uncluttered presentation for ease of reference and use. We have taken great care to provide you with each individual commentary as it was intended and written by the original author.Our commentaries are equipped with the very best active tables of contents that drill down from the main contents page to the individual Bible book, to the author, to the Bible book chapter and then to the very verse you are looking to study. These tables of contents have been designed for ease of use and to get you to the exact verse you are looking at.In this volume we give you Charles H. Spurgeon commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew (all chapters except the first)The Prince of Preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon (19th June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was not only a wonderful orator but also magnificent with his pen. The sermons he preached touched the lives of thousands. His writings still continue to reach those who read them to this very day. Reading Spurgeon today may be secondary to the impossibility of hearing him but there is no doubt that his words still carry the weight of Biblical truth. Spurgeon is best remembered as the pastor the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England. There he enjoyed many years of fruitful ministry, leading people to Christ and pastoring the ever growing congregation of the Church.

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Matthew Contents

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MATTHEW

Charles H. Spurgeon Commentary Contents

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CHAPTER ONE

Spurgeon

CHARLES H. SPURGEON COMMENTARY

Matthew Chapter 2 Contents

Verses 1-12

Verses 1-23

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MATTHEW CONTENTS

MAIN CONTENTS

Verses 1-12

Matthew 2:1-2. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the, east, and are come to worship him.

Observe here that when the Son of God was born into the world, it was in a very lowly village, the village of Bethlehem. Very naturally, the wise men supposed that “the King of the Jews” would be born in the palace, in the metropolis of the country, at Jerusalem; but it pleased the Lord that everything about Christ’s birth should have the stamp of lowliness, that the poorest and humblest of men might understand. that Christ took not upon him the nature of princes, but the nature of men, not of the great ones of the earth, but of our common humanity. Hence Jesus was born of a lowly virgin, and was but roughly cradled in a manger, and the village chosen as the place of his birth was Bethlehem, well-named the “house of bread”, for it is there that the Bread of our souls is found. The holy child Jesus was born “in the days of Herod the king.” The last spark of sovereignty was just dying out. Herod, an alien, held the kingdom under the Roman Empire. Did not old Jacob’s prophecy say, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come”? Therefore is it expressly mentioned that Jesus was born “in the days of Herod the king.” We must also remember that, although our Lord’s birth is full of every circumstance of humiliation, it has a wondrous glory about it. The Magi, probably from Persia, “wise men”, philosophers and theologians, heard in far-off lands of his fame; and a star led them to his feet: “There came wise men from the east.” They supposed that the birth of Christ would be well known among the Jews, and be a common theme of conversation; so, when they reached Jerusalem, they enquired, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” Ah, when the heart is awakened to the love of Christ, it often dreams that everybody else feels an equal interest in him; but it is not so!

The world is dead and cold to Christ; and men look astonished when we ask the question, “Where is he? We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” These wise men were not Unitarians, who disbelieved the deity of Christ. It has been said by some that they only meant that they were come to pay him the homage of a king. Then, why did they not worship Herod, and why did Herod say that he wished to worship him? It will not do, the thought is not to be endured for a single moment. The magi believed that he who was born King of the Jews was more than a human being, and they had come to worship him.

Matthew 2:3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

The wise men brought the best news that ever was told, and yet it troubled people. Does the gospel trouble you, my friend? Then I am afraid you must be of Herod’s kith and kin. It is an ill sign of a man’s heart when that which is for the good of all men becomes a trouble to him. It is an ill stomach that turns good meat to poison. I suppose “all Jerusalem” was troubled with Herod because they knew that, whenever this gloomy tyrant had a fit upon him, he was sure to draw blood somewhere; therefore they were troubled with him.

Matthew 2:4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Think of this vile wretch taking to studying his Bible. Yet there are some who do the like still. Reckoning that gain is godliness and therefore turning godliness into gain for sinister motives, they would be religious, and wish to be instructed in the truths of the Bible. Such was Herod; so he gathered all the chief priests and scribes together, and demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Matthew 2:5-6. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Now, you see, what Herod did with an ill design was overruled for good, for thus we know on the highest authority that Christ was born at Bethlehem; the chief priests and scribes, great students of the law, when they were assembled in the presence of Herod, declared that, according to prophecy, Christ was to be born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:7-8. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Covering his bloody design with the pretense of reverence. There is never a worse sin in the world than that which a man covers over with the cloak of religion; let us ever beware of falling into this evil.

Matthew 2:9-10. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

You see, the light of the star was taken from them for a time, just as sometimes the delightful presence of God is withdrawn from his people. Then, beloved, you walk by faith alone, and not by sight, as these men did; but oh! when the light comes back again, when, after hearing all the chatter of false priests and scribes, and all the talk of Herod the great one, they see the star again, how glad they are! When God sends to his people clear shinings after rain, the brightness of his presence after a time of gloom, then is it with them as it was with the wise men, “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

Matthew 2:11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him:

The old Reformers used to say, “Here is a bone that sticks in the throat of the Romanists, and they can neither get it up nor down, for it does not say, They saw Mary and the young child, the young child is put first, they came to see him; and it does not say that ‘they fell down and worshipped them.’” If ever there was an opportunity for Mariolatry, surely this was the one, when the child was as yet newly-born, and depended so much upon his mother. Why did not the magi say, “Ave Maria!” and commence at once their Mariolatry? Ay, but these were wise men; they were not priests from Rome, else might they have done it.

Matthew 2:11. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The best they had, presents fit for a King; offered as the tribute of the country from which they came, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh being found in the east. It is well to bring to Christ the best we have, and the boat of the best: “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Matthew 2:12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

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Verses 1-23

Matthew 2:1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, —

Probably from that Assyria which is joined with Israel and Egypt in the remarkable prophecy in Isaiah 19:24-25 : “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. “Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,” —

Matthew 2:2-3. Saying, Where is he that is, born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

He was troubled about the kingship which he had no right to possess, for he thought that, if the “King of the Jews” was really coming, he would be dethroned. And all Jerusalem was troubled with him, for the people over whom he reigned never knew what mischief he might do when once his suspicions were excited, for he was a cruel, blood-thirsty tyrant.

Matthew 2:4-6. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the prince of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

It was something to get a distinct declaration from the Jewish rulers that the Christ was to be born at Bethlehem, for Jesus was born there. Afterwards, they called him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Nazareth was the place where he was brought up, but Bethlehem was the place of his birth, in fulfillment of the prophecy given hundreds of years before the event.

Matthew 2:7-8. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Pretty “worship” was that which he would render to the infant King! He intended to murder him, and, in like manner, how often, under the pretense of worshipping Christ, has the very truth of Christ been murdered. Men invent new sacraments, new doctrines, new forms and Romanies, all avowedly for the edification of the Church and for the glory of Jesus; but really that they may stab at the very heart of God’s gospel, and put to death the living truth.

Matthew 2:9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Yet it was not a wandering star, nor a shooting star; but a traveling star such as they had never seen before.

Matthew 2:10-12. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Very providentially, the magi had brought the gold with which Joseph would be able to pay the expenses incurred in journeying to the land of Egypt, and in supporting his family there till he could return to his home and his business. God always takes care of his own children; and specially did he provide for his firstborn and only-begotten Son.

Matthew 2:13-14. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

How obedient Joseph was! He was a man of a docile spirit, who willingly did as God bade him. He has, perhaps, never had his character sufficiently well set forth in the Church of God, for he was eminently honoured by being the guardian of the young child and his mother; and he discharged his duty with singular humility and gentleness.

Matthew 2:15. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Which was true first of Israel, the nation, as God’s ion, and now again true of Jesus, the great Son of God. It is true also of all sons of God; we have to be called out of Egypt. By the blood of the Paschal Lamb we too are saved, and we are brought out of Egypt with a high hand and an outstretched arm, in the day when God delivers us from our sin.

Matthew 2:16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

That was the light he put upon it: “that he was mocked of the wise men.” He was exceeding wroth, and when he was wroth, his anger was terrible. Augustus said of him that it would be better to be Herod’s sow than Herod’s son, which was true, for he would not kill a sow, as he held to the Jewish faith. He did not kill swine, but he would not mind killing anybody in his passion: “He was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” He took a wide range in order, so he thought, to make quite sure that he should kill the Child King whom he especially hated.

Matthew 2:17-18. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, slaying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

It must have been a very sorrowful day in Bethlehem; you can imagine the grief that filled the hearts of the mothers there. There is Herod, who acts the hypocrite, and tries to slay Christ at the first, and there is Judas at the end, acts the hypocrite, too, and betrays his Lord. Thus is the life of Christ begun and ended in sorrow.

Matthew 2:19-22. But when Herod was dead behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither:

Archelaus was another chip off the old block, and a chip of very hard wood, too, equally cruel, and without his father’s greatness of mind. He had all Herod’s vices without his mental vigor.

Matthew 2:22. Notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

He did not follow his own judgment. This man, thoroughly a servant of God, waits for orders; he has his fears, but he will not even act upon them, but he waits till he is warned of God in a dream, and then he turns aside into the parts of Galilee.

Matthew 2:23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:

Galilee was despised, but Nazareth was thought to be the worst part of Galilee. Netzar is a word in the Hebrew signifying a sprout or branch, and Nazareth apparently comes from the same root.

Matthew 2:23. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

This is the name commonly given to our Lord in the Old Testament. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesus was the sprout, or the shoot out of the withered stem of Jesse. When the dynasty of David was like the tree cut down, and only the stem of it left there sprang up out of it the Netzar, the Nazarene; so he is found dwelling in a city that is called by that name, and he also is called a Nazarene. And the name clings to him to this day, there are those who will call him by no name but “the Nazarene.” There was one who threatened to crush the Nazarene, but when he was dying he had to cry, “O Nazarene, thou hast triumphed;” and the Nazarene will always do so. He shall be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, and he shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!

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CHAPTER TWO

Spurgeon

CHARLES H. SPURGEON COMMENTARY

Matthew Chapter 3 Contents

Verses 1-12

Verses 1-17

Verses 13-17

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MATTHEW CONTENTS

MAIN CONTENTS

Verses 1-12

We are going to read three passages relating to John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Christ.

Matthew 3:1-4. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

Everything connected with John the Baptist was in harmony with his message. He was the preacher of repentance, so the place where he preached was most suitable; it was in the wilderness, where there was nothing to distract his hearers’ attention, as there would have been in crowded cities. His dress was striking, and everything about him, even down to the food that he ate, went to show that he was the rough pioneer preacher preparing the way for his master. John did not teach the fullness of joy and peace; that was left for our Lord Jesus to proclaim; but John came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance.

Matthew 3:5. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

There seems to have been, about that time, a widespread anticipation of the coming of the Messiah; so, no sooner did the news come that a prophet was preaching in the desert, than great multitudes went out to hear him.

Matthew 3:6-8. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Did he not speak after the style of the prophet Elijah? Yet those bold speeches of his were not at all stronger than the evils of the age required. When the self-righteous Pharisees and the skeptical Sadducees the Ritualists and the “modern thought” men of that day came to him to be baptized, he welcomed them not, but bade them “bring forth fruits meet for repentance,” evidences of a change of heart and life.

Matthew 3:9. And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones —

In the bed of Jordan, where he was baptizing, —

Matthew 3:9. To raise up children unto Abraham.

John bade them boast not of their descent from Abraham; yet that was the great thing in which they did glory. They despised the Gentiles as so many does outside the true fold. Note how John the Baptist really preaches the gospel to us indirectly while he is denouncing these people’s confidence in their carnal descent. Regeneration is “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Matthew 3:10. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Other teachers came, as it were, only to lop and prune the trees, but the time had come for the felling of those that were fruitless. John did this, and so did our Lord Jesus Christ, for his preaching dug up the very roots of sin, superstition, and evil of every kind.

Matthew 3:11-12. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Now let us turn to the Gospel according to John, where we have another account of the ministry of John the Baptist.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 3:1-12; John 1:15-37; John 3:22-36.

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Verses 1-17

Matthew 3:1-2. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

There is no entering the kingdom of heaven without leaving the kingdom of darkness. We must repent of sin, or we cannot receive the blessings of salvation. Of every man, whoever he may be, whether outwardly moral or openly wicked, repentance is required. It is the door of hope; there is no other way into the kingdom: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 3:3-4. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts end wild honey.

His raiment and his food were like his doctrine, rough and simple. There was no mincing of words, no making of pretty phrases with John the Baptist; his message was simply, “Repent ye: repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is coming.” We want more of this John the Baptist teaching nowadays, that men may be plainly told their faults, and warned to put away those faults that they may receive Christ Jesus as their Saviour.

Matthew 3:5-7. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and at Judaea, and out the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come

These were the influential people of the times; the Pharisees were the Ritualists of that age, and the Sadducees were the Pationalists of the period. Why, John, you ought to have smoothed your tongue a bit, and have said some very pleasant words to these great men; for, by so doing, perhaps you might have won some of these Pharisees, or coaxed some of these Sadducees into the kingdom! Ah, no; that is not John’s method! He is plainspoken, and he deals truthfully with his hearers, for he knows that converts made by flattery are but flattering converts that are of no real value.

Matthew 3:8-9. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within ourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham

Pointing to the stones in the River Jordan, and all along the banks, he said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “There is nothing, after all, in your natural descent from Abraham. God has promised that Abraham shall have a seed, but think not that he is dependent upon you for that seed. - He can fulfill his promise without you. He can turn the very pebbles of the stream into children for Abraham. God is not short of men to save. If some of you will not have him, do not think that he shall have to come a-begging to you. There are others who will have him, and his rich sovereign grace will find them out. Beware, ye that are proud and think much of yourselves, for God will not humble himself to you. He hath regard to the humble and the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off.”

Matthew 3:10-12. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shalt baptize you with the holy Ghost, and with fire:-whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he wilt burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Christ is the minister of mercy, but there is about his doctrine a-searching and a trying power. Only the sincere in heart can endure Christ’s winnowing fan. As for the insincere, they are blown away like the chaff on the threshing-floor, and their end is destruction. God gave us to be numbered amongst the wheat that Christ shall gather into his heavenly garner!

Matthew 3:13-14. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbid him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

It seemed very strange that John, the servant, should be required to baptize Jesus, the Master.

Matthew 3:15. And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil al righteousness. Then he suffered him.

That is to say the Teacher must himself obey the laws, which he is about to lay down; and inasmuch as he is going to bid others to be baptized, he will set the example, and be himself baptized. I think also that the baptism of Christ was the picture, the type, the symbol of the work, which he afterwards accomplished. He was immersed in suffering; he died, and was buried in the tomb; he rose again from the grave; and all that is set forth in the outward symbol of his baptism in the River Jordan.

Matthew 3:16-17. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and to a voice from heaven, saying, This in my beloved son, in whom I am well leased.

And we are well pleased with him.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 2, and Matthew 3.

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Verses 13-17

Matthew 3:13-14. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Who among us would not have felt as John did? Shall the servant baptize the Master, and such a Master, even his Lord and Saviour? But merely the condescension of our blessed Lord. He would do everything that he wished his people afterwards to do; and therefore he would be baptized, and set the example that he would have them all follow.

Matthew 3:15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

We are never to be so modest as to become disobedient to Christ’s commands. We have known some who have allowed their humility to grow alone in the garden of their heart without the other sweet flowers that should have sprung up side by side with it, and thus their very humility has developed into a kind of pride. John was easily persuaded to do what his feelings at first seemed to forbid: “Then he suffered him.”

Matthew 3:16-17. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

It has also happened unto the servants of Christ, as well as to their Master, that in keeping the commandments of God there has been a sweet attestation borne by the Holy Spirit. I trust that we, too, according to our measure of sonship, have heard in our hearts the voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved son,” and that we have experienced the descending of the dove-like Spirit, bringing us peace of mind and gentleness of nature.

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 3:13-17; and Matthew 4:1-11.

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CHAPTER THREE

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CHARLES H. SPURGEON COMMENTARY

Matthew Chapter 4 Contents

Verses 1-11

Verses 12-24

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Verses 1-11

Matthew 4:1. Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

He had just been baptized, the Spirit of God had descended upon him, and the Father had borne witness to him, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” yet, immediately after all that, he was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. So, after your times of sweetest fellowship with God, after the happiest enjoyment of gospel ordinances. After the sealing of the Spirit within your hearts, you must expect to be tempted of the devil. You must not suppose that, in your Christian life, all will be sweetness, — that all will be spiritual witness-bearing. You have to fight the good fight of faith, and your great adversary will not be slow to begin the encounter. You are a pilgrim in a strange land, so you must expect to find rough places on the road to heaven. Yet, since you are so much weaker than your Master was, you will do well to pray the prayer that he taught to his disciples, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Matthew 4:2-3. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him,

See how Satan seizes opportunities. When he finds us weak, as the Saviour was through long fasting; — when he finds us in trying circumstances, as the Saviour was when hungry in the desert; — then it is that he comes to tempt us. This dastardly foe of ours takes every possible advantage of us, that he may, by any means, overthrow us.

Matthew 4:3. He said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread.

He begins with an “if.” He tries to cast a doubt upon the Saviour’s Sonship, and this is the way that he often attacks a child of God now. He says to him, “If thou be a son of God, do so-and-so.” He challenged Christ to work a miracle for himself, — to use his divine power on his own behalf, but this the Saviour never did. He challenged Christ to distrust the providence of God, and to be his own Provider; and this is still a very common temptation to God’s people.

Matthew 4:4. But he answered and said, It is written, —

That is the only sword that Christ used against Satan, — “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” There is nothing like it; and the old dragon himself knows what sharp edges this sword has. Christ said, “It is written,” —

Matthew 4:4. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

God can sustain human life without the use of bread, although it is the staff of life; for bread does not sustain life unless God puts power into it to do so, and he can, if it pleases him, use that power without the outward means. Our Lord thus showed that God could provide for him in a desert without his interference with the plans of divine providence by selfishly catering for himself. So the first victory was won,

Matthew 4:5-6. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,—

Here he plays with the Word of God, for the devil can quote Scripture when it suits his purpose to do so: “It is written,” —

Matthew 4:6. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

The devil did not quote correctly from Psalms 91:11-12; he left out the most important words: “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways,” but it was not Christ’s way to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus therefore answered Satan’s misquotation with a true quotation.

Matthew 4:7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

I know some people, who earn their living in employments which are very hazardous to their immortal souls. They are in the midst of evil, yet they tell me that God can keep them in safety there. I know that he can, but I also know that we have no right to go, voluntarily, where we are surrounded by temptation. If your calling is the wrong one, and you are continually tempted in it, you may not presume upon the goodness of God to keep you, for it is your business to get as far as you can from that which will lead you into sin. God does not put his servants on the pinnacle of the temple; it is the devil who puts them there; and if they ever are there, the best thing they can do is to get down as quickly and as safely as they can; but they must not cast themselves down, they must look to him who alone can bring them down safely. With some professors, presumption is a very common sin. They will go into worldly amusements and all sorts of frivolities, and say, “Oh, we can be Christians, and yet go there!” Can you? It may be that you can be hypocrites, and go there; that is far easier than going there as Christians.

Matthew 4:8-10. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Christ will not endure any more of this talk. When it comes to a bribe the promise that the devil will give him earth’s glory if he will but fall down and worship him, Christ ends the whole matter once for all. Thrice assaulted, thrice victorious, blessed Master, enable us also to be more than conquerors through thy grace!

Matthew 4:11. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Regarding it as their highest honour to be the servants of their Lord.

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Verses 12-24

Matthew 4:12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

Notice that there were at that time only two great ministers of God, John the Baptist, he must go to prison and to death; — Jesus, the Son of God, he must go to the desert to be tempted of the devil. If any Christians escape temptation, they will not be the leaders of the hosts of God. Those who stand in the van must bear the brunt of the battle. Oh, that all who are called to such responsible positions might be as prepared to occupy them as John was, and as Jesus was!

Matthew 4:13-16. And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might he fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Oh, the tender mercy of our God! Where the darkness is the deepest, there the light shines the brightest. Christ selects such dark regions as Nephthalim and Zabulon that he may dwell there, and shine in all his glory.

Matthew 4:17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

He was not afraid to give an earnest exhortation to sinners, and to bid men repent. He knew better than we do the inability of men concerning all that is good, yet he bade them repent.

Matthew 4:18-23. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

I like those words “all manner”— that is, every kind and every sort of sickness and disease Christ met. Perhaps you, dear friend, are afflicted in your soul after a very peculiar fashion. Ay, but this great Physician heals all manner of diseases. None are excluded from the list of patients whom he can cure; twice the words “all manner” are used: “Healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

Matthew 4:24. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

Our Lord Jesus lived as in a hospital while he was on earth; wherever he went, the sins and sorrows of men were all open before his sympathetic gaze. But oh, what joy it must have been to him to be able to deal so well with them all! Am I addressing any who are sick in soul? Our Master is used to cases just like yours; your malady is not new to him. He has healed many like you; of all that were brought to him, it is written, “he healed them.” Lie before him now, in all your sin and misery, and breathe the prayer, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” and he will surely hear you, and heal you, for he delights to bless and save all who trust him.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 1:19-51; and Matthew 4:12-24.

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CHAPTER FOUR

Spurgeon

CHARLES H. SPURGEON COMMENTARY

Matthew Chapter 5 Contents

Verses 1-12

Verses 1-30

Verses 13-26

Verses 17-48

Verses 31-42

Verses 41-48

Verses 43-48

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Verses 1-12

Matthew 5:1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

You notice that the Preacher sat down, and that his disciples stood around him. If you find it somewhat warm and trying tonight, remember that you have the best of it, for you sit while the speaker stands. Concerning our Lord, we read: “When he was set, his disciples came unto him:” —

Matthew 5:2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, —

Perhaps someone says, “He could not have taught them without opening his mouth” I have found that a great many try to teach without opening their mouths; but the earnest preacher speaks with all his might. So did Jesus in the open air on the mountain side: “He opened his mouth, and taught them.” Such grand things as he had to say ought to come from open portals, so he mumbled not, but” opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,”—

Matthew 5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed.” See how Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount, he begins with benedictions. He is a cloud that is full of rain, and that empties itself upon the earth. The moment you begin to know Christ, you begin to have blessings; and the more you know of him, the more blessed you will be. “Blessed are the poor in spirit:” not those who boast themselves of spiritual riches and personal goodness, but the lowly, the meek, the trembling, the humble, the poor in spirit, “for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Let them be comforted now in the prospect of future comfort. There are no mourning hearts that mourn over sin, and mourn after God, that shall be deserted by their God: “they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

They do in the truest sense enjoy even this life; their contented spirit makes them monarchs. The great man, with all his wealth, is often uneasy with a craving ambition for more; but the quiet spirits of God’s people find a kingdom everywhere. The mountains and the valleys belong really to him who can, with happy eye, look upon them, and then lift his face to heaven, and feel, “My Father made them all.”

Matthew 5:6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:

They want to be better; they are hungry and thirsty after more holiness. They boast not of personal perfection, they are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but they have not attained to it yet.

Matthew 5:6. For they shall be filled.

God will fill them; and when he fills men with his fullness, they are full indeed.

Matthew 5:7. Blessed are the merciful:

The forgiving, the generous, the kind: “Blessed are the merciful:” —

Matthew 5:7-8. For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

There is such a connection between purity of heart and purity of understanding that the man whose eye is clarified by holiness shall see God.

Matthew 5:9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

They shall not only be the children of God, but people shall call them by that name. There is something so Godlike in trying to put away discord, and to remove anger, and to promote love, that it makes men feel that peacemakers must be the children of God.

Matthew 5:10-11. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

It is not when men truthfully speak evil concerning you, but when they say it falsely; not when they say evil against you because of your ill tempers which provoke them, but when they do it falsely, for Christ’s sake, then, “blessed are ye.”

Matthew 5:12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

And you are treading in their steps, so you are entering into their heritage. You have your beginning with them, and you shall have your end with them. If persecuted with them, you shall also reign with them.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 149.; and Matthew 5:1-12.

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Verses 1-30

Matthew 5:1-2. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,-

Our Saviour soon gathered a congregation. The multitudes perceived in him a love to them, and a willingness to impart blessing to them, and therefore they gathered about him. He chose the mountain and the open air for the delivery of this great discourse, and we should be glad to find such a place for our assemblies; but in this variable climate we cannot often do so. “And when he was set.” The Preacher sat, and the people stood. We might make a helpful change if we were sometimes to adopt a similar plan now. I am afraid that ease of posture may contribute to the creation of slumber of heart in the hearers. There Christ sat, and “his disciples came unto him.” They formed the inner circle that was ever nearest to him, and to them he imparted his choicest secrets, but he also spoke to the multitude, and therefore it is said that “he opened his mouth,” as well he might when there were such great truths to proceed from it, and so vast a crowd to hear them: “He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,” —

Matthew 5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This is a gracious beginning to our Saviour’s discourse, “Blessed are the poor.” None ever considered the poor as Jesus did, but here he is speaking of a poverty of spirit, a lowliness of heart, an absence of self-esteem. Where that kind of spirit is found, it is sweet poverty: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

There is a blessing which often goes with mourning itself; but when the sorrow is of a spiritual sort,-mourning for sin,-then is it blest indeed.

“Lord, let me weep for nought but sin,

And after none but thee;

And then I would-oh, that I might-

A constant mourner be!”

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek:

The quiet-spirited, the gentle, the self-sacrificing,-

Matthew 5:5. For they shall inherit the earth.

It looks as if they would be pushed out of the world but they shall not be, “for they shall inherit the earth.” The wolves devour the sheep, yet there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves, and the sheep, continue to multiply, and to feed in green pastures.

Matthew 5:6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:

Pining to be holy, longing to serve God, anxious to spread every righteous principle,-blessed are they.

Matthew 5:6-7. For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: Those who are kind, generous, sympathetic, ready to forgive those who have wronged them,-blessed are they.

Matthew 5:7-8. For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart:-

It is a most blessed attainment to have such a longing for purity as to love everything that is chaste and holy, and to abhor everything that is questionable and unhallowed: blessed are the pure in heart:-

Matthew 5:8.For they shall see God.

There is a wonderful connection between hearts and eyes. A man who has the stains of filth on his soul cannot see God, but they who are purified in heart are purified in vision too: “they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:9. Blessed are the peacemakers:

Those who always end a quarrel if they can, those who lay themselves out to prevent discord,-

Matthew 5:9-10. For they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They share the kingdom of heaven with the poor in spirit. They are often evil spoken of, they have sometimes to suffer the spoiling of their goods, many of them have laid down their lives for Christ’s sake, but they are truly blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shalt say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Mind, it must be said falsely, and it must be for Christ’s sake, if you are to be blessed; but there is no blessing in having evil spoken of you truthfully, or in having it spoken of you falsely because of some bitterness in your own spirit.

Matthew 5:12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

You are in the true prophetic succession, if you cheerfully bear reproach of this kind for Christ’s sake, you prove that you have the stamp and seal of those who are in the service of God.

Matthew 5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth:

Followers of Christ, “ye are the salt of the earth.” You help to preserve it, and to subdue the corruption that is in it.

Matthew 5:13. But if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?

A professing Christian with no grace in him, a religious man whose very religion is dead, what is the good of him? And he is himself in a hopeless condition. You can salt meat, but you cannot salt salt.

Matthew 5:13. It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

There are people who believe that you can be children of God today, and children of the devil tomorrow; then again children of God the next day and children of the devil again the day after; but, believe me, it is not so. If the work of grace be really wrought of God in your soul, it will last through your whole life, and if it does not so last, that proves that it is not the work of God. God does not put his hand to this work a second time. There is no regeneration twice over, you can be born again, but you cannot be born again, and again, and again, as some teach there is no note in Scripture of that kind. Hence I do rejoice that regeneration once truly wrought of the Spirit of God, is an incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth for ever. But beware, professor, lest you should be like salt that has lost its savor, and that therefore is good for nothing.

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world.

Christ never contemplated the production of secret Christians, Christians whose virtues would never be displayed, pilgrims who would travel to heaven by night, and never be seen by their fellow-pilgrims or anyone else.

Matthew 5:14-15. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Christians ought to be seen, and they ought to let their light be seen. They should never even attempt to conceal it. If you are a lamp, you have no right to be under a bushel, or under a bed; your place is on the lampstand where your light can be seen.

Matthew 5:16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Not that they may glorify you, but that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:17-18. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

No cross of a “t” and no dot of an “I” shall be taken from God’s law. Its requirements will always be the same; immutably fixed, and never to be abated by so little as “one jot or one tittle.”

Matthew 5:19-20. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees,-

Who seemed to have reached the very highest degree of it; indeed, they themselves thought they went rather over the mark than under it, but Christ says to his disciples, “Unless your righteousness goes beyond that,-

Matthew 5:20. Ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

These are solemn words of warning. God grant that we may have a righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, a righteousness inwrought by the Spirit of God, a righteousness of the heart and of the life!

Matthew 5:21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

Antiquity is often pleaded as an authority; but our King makes short work of “them of old time.” He begins with one of their alterations of his Father’s law. They added to the saved oracles. The first part of the saying which our Lord quoted was divine; but it was dragged down to a low level by the addition about the human court, and the murderer’s liability to appear there. It thus became rather a proverb among men than an inspired utterance from the mouth of God. Its meaning, as God spake it, had a far wider range than when the offence was restrained to actual killing, such as could be brought before a human judgment-seat. To narrow a command is measurably to annul it. We may not do this even with antiquity for our warrant. Better the whole truth newly stated than an old falsehood in ancient language.

Matthew 5:22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Murder lies within anger, for we wish harm to the object of our wrath, or even wish that he did not exist, and this is to kill him in desire. Anger “without a cause” is forbidden by the command which says “Thou shalt not kill;” for unjust anger is killing in intent. Such anger without cause brings us under higher judgment than that of Jewish police-courts. God takes cognizance of the emotions from which acts of hate may spring, and calls us to account as much for the angry feeling as for the murderous deed. Words also come under the same condemnation: a man shall be judged for what he “shall say to his brother.” To call a man Raca, or a worthless fellow, is to kill him in his reputation, and to say to him, “Thou fool,” is to kill him as to the noblest characteristics of a man. Hence all this comes under such censure as men distribute in their councils; yes, under what is far worse, the punishment awarded by the highest court of the universe, which dooms men to “hell fire.” Thus our Lord and King restores the law of God to its true force, and warns us that it denounces not only the overt act of killing, but every thought, feeling, and word which would tend to injure a brother, or annihilate him by contempt.

Matthew 5:23-24. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.