Read Introduction to Matthew
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
It is no big deal if we love those who love us. Non-Christians do that. There is no distinction of love here. Love is more than sentiment.
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Tax collectors had a very bad reputation in Israel. If a low-life like a tax collector can love, what distinction is there in reciprocal love? That is tit-for-tat love. If people have a low view of tax collectors today, it was worse in Jesus’ time. Loving like tax collectors is not saying much.
And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?
Friendship with one’s personal friends is nothing exceptional. Everyone does that.
Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
This is the standard of non-Christians or non-believers. The believer should do more than those who do not know God.
The words “therefore” with the emphatic “you” embrace one final, over-arching principle.
must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The standard of Christ’s kingdom is perfection. The word “perfect” means mature, complete, whole. Retaliation does not characterize God, for He does not lower who He is to accommodate how humans act. Perfection here does not convey the idea of sinlessness but rather full maturity according to the character of God. The context of this is mature love, as God’s love is mature.
Believers should love with the distinctive love of God.
Our lives should wholly commit to God’s character. God’s love is complete, so the child of God should have complete love. God’s love is indiscriminate, so our love should not discriminate towards the objects of our love.