Ever Felt That Pain?

 MARCH 17

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…

Jesus’ explanation of His transformation of the Law begins with but I say unto you. The word but implies a change. The scales have balanced as far as killing and punishment, but if there is more to life than the physical, then there is another way in which to kill someone – anger. Ever felt that pain?

When Jesus refers to your brother, it is not biological, but a fellow human being. Perhaps it particularly means a Christian brother. Anger shown between Christians must be very painful to Jesus. After all, these are the people who claim to be His disciples. The people who are supposed to be salt. The people who are supposed to be light. Even if what they say is right, when it is said in hot tempered anger, it destroys any good which may be done. 

Anger wounds the spirit and is very destructive to the soul of the one it has inflicted. Anger is also destructive to the soul of the one doing the inflicting. This is not just losing your temper. This is malicious, mean anger. To destroy fellow humans with mean-tempered, explosive, anger, is in the category of those who kill.

Once again, life is serious business.

PRAYER

Merciful God, Help me not to be an angry person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ makes us brothers—He wants me to be patient!

Liable

MARCH 16

MATTHEW 5:21_Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.

Jesus begins His transformation law list. First on the list is thou shalt not kill. What a great way to begin! Who’s going to question that? This statement should please the entire audience. No shouting of boo or hissing at this statement!

Jesus gains everyone’s approval by beginning with the sixth commandment. Not only would they approve, but they would be feeling good, relaxed, and maybe even a little proud. No guilt feelings over this one. No murderers were in this crowd, because murderers were dealt with promptly.

Jesus continues, whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. In order for Jesus to be the balance of judgment and mercy there has to be a place for judgment. The word judgment in this passage is translated as liable. That means you are held responsible for your actions. The Law makes it clear that to kill someone carries a judgment.

Jesus sees something beyond killing someone which can carry judgment. Jesus sees us liable for all our actions.

He is prepared to reveal this liability.

PRAYER

Righteous God, I want to be a part of Your multitude who listen for truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ understands judgment—He will teach me!

If They Only Knew

MARCH 15

MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…

I don’t believe there is happenstance in anything Jesus says including the order in which He teaches. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ style of order.

The sermon began with the attitudes and life styles that cause you to be blessed. It transferred to the purpose of the blessed – to be salt and light in the world. Next, Jesus made clear He was not about the destruction of the Law, but its fulfillment.

Some in the multitude were only there to make Jesus out to be a heretic. Those particular ones may not have liked Jesus teaching He was not there to destroy the Law. Being for the Law might make it appear Jesus was on their side. They did not want that!

Jesus proceeded on in His sermon and discredited the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Oh, my! To be sure some fits were thrown! They aren’t about to stand for that!

The Scribes and Pharisees begin to become a bit antsy. They have no way to know what Jesus will teach. To be in control of religious teaching was everything to the Scribes and Pharisees. And Jesus was not in their clique.

If they only knew. Jesus is about to transform the Law!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Help me listen to Your teachings with my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                             

  Christ’s teachings are perfect—I need to learn them!

A Heap of Trouble!

MARCH 14

MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…

Jesus begins a series of principles to shed understanding on His fulfillment of the Law. He shares something which up until this sermon only Jesus could do – balance judgment and mercy. Now it is time to teach His salty-lit-up disciples how it’s done!

What was said by them of old time was the Law. The Old Testament covenant God made with Abraham and the laws he gave to Moses (the Ten Commandments, etc.). This was the standard the Hebrews lived by – their rules and regulations. This is how they worshiped, how they gave themselves to being Jews – God’s chosen people.

We Gentiles had no chance for the kingdom life because we were not chosen. Neither did we have the laws to teach us how to worship, serve, and know God. What was said by them of old time was for the Jews alone.

If that was enough, there was no need for a New Testament covenant (and Gentiles would be in a heap of trouble!). Jesus now becomes salt and light for the Old Testament. 

If the Scribes and Pharisees have had trouble relating to Jesus before – watch out. They are about to throw a fit!

PRAYER

Father of All, Thank You for teaching me an understanding of balance. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                   

Christ teaches balance—He helps me understand!

Who Reigns on Your Throne?

MARCH 13

MATTHEW 5:20_you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

If the kingdom of heaven is within you, it is in your heart. What is in your heart calls you to discipleship. You become disciples to whomever or whatever reigns on the heart’s throne. If Christ does not reign on the throne, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, and this time that works whether the kingdom is part of this earthly life, or it is eternal life.

The hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of religion. They would have had to make room for Jesus to reign there. If Jesus reigned in their hearts, they would have known who He was. 

The Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness was self-righteousness, thriving on self-glory and power. The righteousness in the kingdom of heaven thrives on doing good by serving others, which glorifies God. The heart, being the center of your thoughts, makes the decision as to who you want your life to glorify – self or God.

You have only one chance to live this life. If your goal is to use your life to make a difference in the world for good – then you’ve got Jesus’ righteousness.

The world will recognize Jesus when it sees your righteousness.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Thank You that You can be seen in me. Thank You that through Your power I can do Your works. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ reigns in hearts—I want Him in mine!