Reading Acts

In the next section of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses the practice of righteousness. He told his disciples their righteousness must exceed the Pharisees (5:20) and they must be perfect like their father in heaven is perfect. He has given six examples of how the Law ought to be extended to thoughts, attitudes, and motivations. One cannot ‘be righteous” by not murdering, for example, one must control their internal anger.

Starting in Matthew 6, Jesus will begin to teaching on “doing righteousness.” In this section he will deal with three practices (almsgiving, prayer and fasting). Each of these are common practices in Second Temple Judaism and Jesus assumes his disciples are already doing these things. The Second Temple Jewish novel Tobit includes these three disciplines, “Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness” (Tobit 12:8). Although a later Christian work, Testament of Jacob

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