Matthew Chapter 7
Don¡¯t be a judge

1 Do not judge and you will not be judged.

2 In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use for others will be used for you.

3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother¡¯s eye and not see the plank in your own eye?

4 How can you say to your brother: ¡®Come, let me take the speck from your eye,¡¯ as long as that plank is in your own?

5 Hypocrite, take first the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clear enough to take the speck out of your brother¡¯s eye.

6 Do not give what is holy to the dogs, or throw your pearls to the pigs: they might trample on them and even turn on you and tear you to pieces.

7 Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.

8 For everyone who asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; and the door will be opened to him who knocks.

9 Would any of you give a stone to your son when he asks for bread?

10 Or give him a snake, when he asks for a fish?

11 As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12 So, do to others whatever you would that others do to you: there you have the Law and the Prophets.

13 Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many go that way.

14 How narrow is the gate that leads to life and how rough the road; few there are who find it.

The tree is known by its fruits

15 Beware of false prophets: they come to you in sheep¡¯s clothing but inside they are wild wolves.

16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Do you ever pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

17 A good tree always produces good fruit, a rotten tree produces bad fruit.

18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a rotten tree cannot bear good fruit.

19 Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.

20 So you will know them by their fruit.

Wise and foolish builders

21 Not everyone who says to me: Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father.

22 Many will say to me on that day, ¡°Lord, Lord, did we not speak in your name? Did we not cast out devils and perform many miracles in your name?¡±

23 Then I will tell them openly: I have never known you; away from me, you evil people!

24 ¡°So, then, anyone who hears these words of mine and acts accordingly is like a wise man, who built his house on rock.

25 The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house, but it did not collapse because it was built on rock.

26 But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not act accordingly, is like a fool who built his house on sand.

27 The rain poured, the rivers flooded, and the wind blew and struck that house; it collapsed, and what a terrible fall that was!¡±

28 When Jesus had finished this discourse, the crowds were struck by the way he taught,

29 because he taught with authority unlike their teachers of the Law.


Comments Mathew, Chapter 7

• 7.1 No doubt when Jesus spoke these words it was with the same meaning as in 5:43. Usually those who consider themselves as good, or belonging to the group of the converted, judge and criticize those of a different standing. It is a form of pride that spiritual authors call the ¡°fault of beginners.¡± So strongly inscribed is it in human nature that many among the ¡°just¡± of the Bible have expressed their disapproval of the ¡°sinner¡± who did not observe the law of God. Contrariwise the new law tells us not to consider ourselves superior or be judges of those who take a different road, or who are led by God to do so. Do not judge. We must exercise good judgment in order to distinguish between the good and evil around us. Though it is a factor of success never to displease anyone, we must have the courage to tell others the wrong that they do. Here ¡°to judge¡± means to condemn.

When we look at our own lives, we realize that those who helped us grow were those who supported and understood us, not those who judged and condemned us.

Do not judge. See Rom 2:1; 14:4; 1 Cor 5:12; James 4:11.

• 6. Do not give what is holy to the dogs, or throw your pearls to the pigs. Jesus addressed this warning to his followers living in a hostile world. They should not tell everything to everyone. God has given each of us wonderful gifts: we must not share them with everyone at once, believing that it will bring them to faith.

• 7. See commentary on Luke 11:9; Mark 11:24; John 14:13; 15:7; James 1:5.

• 13. Enter through the narrow gate. Maybe someone was asking Jesus: ¡°Who will be saved?¡± (Mt 19:25). In no instance did Jesus say whether those who would share in eternal life would be many or few. He did say many times that very few would be chosen from among the many called. That means that among the many people privileged to meet him, very few would experience the Gospel¡¯s riches and bring forth fruit in themselves and for others. The chosen or approved are those who persevere and strive for perfect freedom.

For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many go that way. They stray from leading a life in which Jesus is everything for them. They waste the gifts of God entrusted to them and apparently become useless for the Kingdom. Yet, even so, they are not deprived of God¡¯s mercy.

• 15. Most probably Matthew gives us these words of Jesus for the benefit of certain believers in the early Church who considered themselves as charismatic prophets. They may well have received gifts of the Spirit but have degenerated since then. In a wider sense Jesus¡¯ words address all who encourage division, untruth and violence, even when they pretend to serve a just cause.

Prophets wore a sheepskin by way of a cloak: a wolf could hide in one. The world has always had a number of ¡°false prophets,¡± usually prophets of easy life, and if the Word of God condemns them, many will say that word has been misinterpreted. It would be well however to ask ourselves why our holy and sacred liberalism tends to sow death in all domains and smothers in so many the ability to believe and hope.  

Do you ever pick grapes from thornbushes? Jesus invites us to look at the facts before coming to conclusions. We find it hard to carefully observe the reality in which we live. We prefer to discuss and debate about ideas rather than to analyze particular situations. Jesus, accustomed to manual labor, distrusts ideas and theories.

• 21. Many will say to me on that day. Matthew probably quotes this sentence pointing out to the charismatic prophets who disturb his communities by not obeying precepts that are addressed to everyone.

Whether we teach or work miracles, these abilities and ministries given us for the good of the community do not assure us that we are in the grace of God. True faith works through love (Gal 5:6) and moves us to fulfill all the Law: James 2:8.

Anyone who hears these words of mine (v. 24). Jesus means those who listen to his words and are converted: they believe themselves already saved. If they do not use their initial enthusiasm to build their lives on solid foundations, such as scriptural meditation, generosity, resistance to evil inclinations, sharing in the Christian community ¨C then everything will tumble down later.

• 28. With this paragraph Matthew closes the first Discourse wherein he gathers words of Jesus that might serve as a ¡°call to all people of good will.¡± A new Discourse will begin in chapter 10.