The Good Guys, Right?

MARCH 8

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees…

Scribes interpreted the Law and copied it into writings. If anyone knew the laws – from the greatest precept to the least – it was the Scribes. They were not politicians, but did possess great power and expected respect from their students in the synagogues. Because of their knowledge, they would most likely be the first to cringe if a jot or a tittle of the Law were violated.

The Pharisees, also learned in the Law, took more of a legal approach to the keeping of it. They were strong segregationists. They wanted no part of non-Jewish mixing.

These two sects were the primary religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Religious leaders are supposed to be the good guys, right?  If you can’t depend upon them to lead in the right direction, who can you depend on?

There were some among the Pharisees who listened to and developed a heart for Jesus. But oh my goodness, what a sad place to be if you went to most of them for love, joy, or peace. They followed the letter of the Law rather than the spirit.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I want to live in the spirit of Your Law. Please show me when I am living more in the letter than the spirit.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is true righteousness—He will help me gain that!

BFFs

MARCH 7

MATTHEW 5:19_the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Can you think of a more beautiful reward than to be called great in the kingdom of heaven? It surpasses any honor the world can offer.

To receive this reward means you believe in and teach (by word or influence) Biblical commands. If this were impossible Jesus never would have taught the principle. The road to the reward begins with some understanding of the life of Jesus. The understanding can’t be gained without Bible reading and meditating (dwelling on until you have it in your heart) on what you read. Bible study needs to be filled with prayer. This is what is known as a daily quiet time.

Dedication to a quiet time leads you to become a salty-lit-up disciple. You won’t have one without the other. The Bible, prayer, discipleship, salt, and light are BFFs.

Jesus clears up some of His teachings in the rest of this chapter. His balance of judgment and mercy equaling the fulfillment of the Law gives some understanding. 

Learning to distinguish the spirit of the Law from the letter of the Law brings everything together.

PRAYER

Savior of the World, I want to be great in the kingdom of heaven.  I want to believe that if You said it then it is possible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Spirit of the Law—He wants to teach me!

An Innumerable Amount of People

MARCH 6

MATTHEW 5:19_and teach them…

Again, Jesus’ emphasis to keep the commandments includes and teach them. Jon Donne’s phrase “no man is an island” is true. There is nothing you can do in life which only involves you. Any decision you make will directly, or indirectly, affect the people God places in your life.

Sometimes those decisions will affect people you don’t even know. If you make the decision to drink and drive, and have no passengers, you may feel that decision only involves you. But if you are involved in an accident with one or more vehicles, suddenly other people are involved in your decision.

Any time you decide to do what is right or wrong, you affect the welfare and safety of an innumerable amount of people. If you make decisions in your heart not to steal, not to kill, not to commit immoral acts – your decisions make the world a safer and better place.

You teach others to do right either directly by words, or indirectly by influence.

The same is true about wrong. Genesis 3:17 (KJV), “And unto Adam he [God] said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it….” Not only were Eve, Adam, and the Serpent punished, but everyone who has lived since that day reaps the consequences of their disobedience.

PRAYER

King of Kings, I want my example in life to be for good. I want to make right choices for myself and help others make them as well. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                          

Christ is my example for good—He wants me to follow!

The Whosoevers

MARCH 5

MATTHEW 5:19_but whosoever shall do…

The all-inclusive whosoever takes a turn for the better. The universal laws of right and wrong ring true for everyone – i.e., the whosoevers.

Wrong ultimately ends in some type of punishment. It may be punishment by our earthly law system, or it may be punishment by life itself. Life is governed by God. It is subject to those principles He included in creation. Let’s look a little further.

There are wrong-doers who get by with their crime – they are never caught by the law enforcers. No one can run or hide from their conscience. God’s creativeness overrules anything the world creates. We cannot escape ourselves. Punishment by life itself – living with the agony of guilt.

The turn for the better is that doing what is right ultimately ends up with rewards. They may not always be public rewards, but God rewards life in ways no plaque, medal, or money can.

Simply to find your way to love, joy, and peace is to own more than anything money can buy.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, I want to do what is right. I want to live out the truths You teach me – so I can be a salty-lit-up disciple. Thank You that You teach me how to live life through Your Word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is love, joy, and peace—He gives those to me!

Least

MARCH 4

MATTHEW 5:19_he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven…

The importance of the word least continues, but changes from a description of the Law to a description of a person. 

When you take into consideration all the laws, the least one is indeed – least! Yet Jesus makes it important enough that to break the least law and teach others to follow your lead, causes you to be least in the kingdom of heaven.

Think of this in New Testament terms to see a better view: How heartbreaking it would be if you were part of what encompasses the Bride of Christ, and called least by the Groom. You don’t want the word least to refer in any kind of way to your relationship with Jesus!

Who could keep from breaking even a small law out of so many? No one. 

There’s hope! Don’t give up yet!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Thank You for giving me hope. Thank You that if I follow You, I have no need to ever give up. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is my hope—I won’t give up!