Matthew 5

Jesus teaches his disciples

1 Jesus saw that crowds of people were following him. So he went up a hill and he sat down there to teach them. His disciples came near to listen to him. 2 He began to teach them. This is what he said:

3 ‘Happy are the people who know that they need God very much.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like that.

5:3‘Happy’ here means that God has blessed people who are like this. They may not always feel happy, but they are in a good place, a happy place. God will take care of them.

4 Happy are the people who are sad now.

God will come near to help them.

5:4Jesus was not only speaking about people who are sad. Some people are sorry about all the bad things that they have done. Jesus was speaking about those people.

5 Happy are the people who are kind.

The whole earth will belong to them.

6 Happy are the people who want to obey God, as much as they want to eat food.

God will give to them everything that they need.

7 Happy are the people who help other people and who forgive them.

God will forgive people like that.

8 Happy are the people who have only good thoughts.

They will come near to God and see him.

9 Happy are the people who bring people together to be friends.

God will call them his children.

10 Happy are the people who do what is right but other people hurt them because of it.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like that.

11 Yes, happy are you when people say bad things against you because you believe in me. Or they may hurt you. Or they may say things about you that are not true. 12 God is preparing many good things for you in heaven. So you should be very happy when people do these bad things to any of you. People did these same things to God's prophets who lived long ago.’

Jesus' disciples are like salt and light

13 Jesus said, ‘You are like salt for all people to taste and use. Salt is good. But if it is not salty any more, you cannot make it salty again. People can no longer use it for anything. They just throw it away and they walk on it.

14 You are like a light for everybody in this world. If people build a city on a hill, then other people can see it easily. 15 Nobody lights a lamp and then puts it under a pot. He will put the lamp in a high place. Everybody who is in the house can then see the light from the lamp. 16 You must be sure that your light shines well. Then you will give light to other people. They will see all the good things that you do. Then they will praise God, who is your Father in heaven.’

5:15At this time, people burned oil in a dish to make a light. They called this a lamp. When it was burning, they sometimes put it on a place high on a wall.
5:16Jesus is teaching his disciples about how they must live in a good way that makes God happy. Light shows people the way. In the same way, the disciples must show people the way to God.

Jesus talks about the Laws that Moses gave to the Jews

17 Jesus said, ‘You should not think that I have come to destroy God's Law. Also, I have not come to destroy the messages that God's prophets wrote down. No, I have not come to destroy their words. I have come to make what they taught become true. 18 I tell you this: One day, even the earth and the sky will finish. But while they remain, God's Law will also remain. Nobody can remove even the smallest thing from it. The Law will remain until everything in it has happened.

19 A person may choose not to obey a rule in God's Law. He may think it is the least important rule. He may also teach other people to think like that. Then God will call him the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. But a person may choose to obey all the rules in God's Law. And he may teach other people to obey them too. Then God will call that person great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 I tell you this: You must always do what is right. You must live in a way that is better than the teachers of God's Law and the Pharisees. You will never come into the kingdom of heaven if you do not do better than them.’

5:20The teachers of God's Law and the Pharisees thought that they obeyed every rule in the Law. But they did not do it because they loved God. They wanted other people to think well of them.

Jesus teaches about angry people

21 Jesus then said, ‘You know the rule that God gave to your ancestors: “You must not kill anyone. Any person who does kill someone will stand in front of a judge. The judge will punish him because he has done a wrong thing.” 22 But what I now say to you is this: Anybody who is angry with his brother will have to stand in front of a judge. Or someone might call his brother by a bad name. Then he will have to stand in front of the Jewish leaders. They will judge him. But someone may say to his brother, “You are a fool.” God will judge that person. God may punish him in the fires of hell.

5:21At the time when Jesus said this, there were 71 important rulers in Jerusalem. And they met together to judge a bad person. The leader of the priests was their leader. These men had great power. God is the most powerful judge. Only he can send a person to hell.
5:22When Jesus used the word brother, he was also talking about any special friend.

23 Maybe you go to the temple to give your gift to God. You take it to the altar. But then you remember that your brother is angry with you. 24 You must leave your gift there in front of God's altar. First you must go and find your brother. Tell him that you are sorry. Then you can both become friends with each other again. After that, you can return to the altar and give your gift to God.

25 Also, somebody may say that you have done something wrong against him. He may take you to stand in front of the judge. You should quickly try to agree with this person. Decide with him how to make things right again. Do this even while you are going with him to the judge. If you do not do that, the judge may agree that you have done a wrong thing. Then he will give you to his officer. His officer will put you in prison. 26 I tell you this: You will remain in prison until you have paid all the money, even the last small coin.’

5:25A judge listens to what people say against each other. He then decides who is right or wrong. Jesus is telling the people that everyone has done wrong things to God. They do not obey him in the way that they should. Jesus says that we should believe in him now. If we do not, then God will judge us. And he will punish us when we stand in front of him.

Jesus teaches people about bad thoughts

27 Jesus then said, ‘You know what God's rule says: “You must not have sex with anyone who is not your husband or your wife.” 28 But what I tell you is this: A man may look at a woman who is not his wife. And he may want to have sex with her. In his thoughts, he has had sex with her, so he has done a wrong thing. 29 If your right eye leads you to do wrong things, then you should take it out. You should throw it away. Yes, you will lose one eye. But it will be much worse if you keep your whole body and God throws you into hell. 30 Also, if your right hand leads you to do wrong things, then you should cut it off. You should throw it away. You will lose one hand. But it will be much worse if you keep your body in one piece and go to hell.’

5:30Jesus does not want his disciples to cut their bodies. It is very important for them not to do wrong things. And Jesus is telling them this.

Jesus talks about when a man sends his wife away

31 ‘God's Law also says: “Any man who wants to send his wife away must give her a letter. This letter must say that they are no longer married.” 32 But what I tell you is this: A man must not send his wife away except for one reason. He may only send her away if she has had sex with another man. If he sends her away for any other reason, he has done a wrong thing. It is like he has caused her to have sex with another man. Also, if a woman has left her husband, another man must not marry her. That is the same as if he had sex with another man's wife.’

Jesus teaches people about promises to God

33 ‘You also know the rule that God gave to your ancestors: “If you make a promise to God, you must do what you have said.” 34 But what I tell you is this. Do not use any name to make a promise stronger. Do not use the words “by heaven” to make a promise stronger. Heaven is the place where God rules. Do not use the words “by the earth” to make a promise stronger. The earth is the place where God rests his feet. 35 Do not use the words “by Jerusalem” to make a promise stronger. Jerusalem is God's city. He is the great King who rules from there. 36 Do not use the words “by my head” to make a promise. You cannot make the colour of even one of your hairs black or white. 37 Instead, when you make a promise, you should say only “Yes, I will do it.” Or you should say only “No, I will not do it.” If you say anything more than this, what you say is bad. It comes from Satan.’

5:37People used to say these extra words when they made a promise. They wanted other people to know that they would keep their promise. Jesus taught that we should always keep our promises (do what we promised to do).

Jesus teaches how to love people

38 Jesus then said, ‘You also know that God's Law says: “If somebody destroys your eye, then you should destroy that person's eye. If somebody destroys your tooth, then you should destroy that person's tooth.” 39 But what I tell you is this. If somebody does something bad to you, do not do anything against him. Somebody may slap you on one side of your face. Then you should also let him slap the other side of your face.

5:39We should not do bad things to other people who have done bad things to us.

40 Maybe somebody wants to take you to the judge. He says that you should give him your shirt. Give the man your shirt, and give him your coat too. 41 Or a soldier may tell you, “Carry my luggage for one kilometre.” You should do that. Even agree to carry it for two kilometres. 42 When people ask you for something, you should give it to them. If they ask you to lend them something, then you should not refuse.

43 You have heard people say, “Love the people who are your friends. But hate those who want to hurt you.” 44 What I tell you is this: You should love the people who want to hurt you. If people want to give you pain, pray for them. Pray that God would help them. 45 If you live like this, you will show that you really are children of your Father above. God is kind to everyone. He causes the sun to shine on everyone, both good people and bad people. He also causes the rain to fall on everyone, people who obey him and people who do not obey him. 46 Do you only love people who love you? God will not give you good things just for doing that. Even the men who take taxes love their friends!

5:46The men who took taxes for the Roman government took the money from their own people, the Jews. They often took more money than they should have taken. So people hated the men who took taxes from them.

47 If you are only kind to your friends, then you are not doing anything special. Even people who do not believe in God do that. 48 So you must be good in every way, as your Father above is good in every way.’