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!

Drenched in Love

MARCH 12

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

The Greek translation for the word righteousness used here is, whatever is right and just within itself; whatever conforms to the revealed will of God.

If the Scribes and Pharisees couldn’t recognize Jesus as an extension of God then according to the above translation, their righteousness failed coming out of the gate! 

Jesus was certainly just and conformed to God’s will – He was the very revelation of it. No one can recognize Jesus without recognizing His heart of love. The person who comes to Jesus with a willing and repentant heart, or the one who comes to Him kicking and screaming with a rebellious heart, end up the same way – drenched in love. 

The love of Jesus is overpowering. It is life changing. It is heart healing. No force in this life is stronger. Any righteousness we have comes from the love of Jesus. When the Scribes and Pharisees’ saw Jesus’ miracles, they not only didn’t recognize Him, they said He was demonically possessed!

No wonder Jesus says our righteousness should exceed that! 

PRAYER

Jesus Savior, I want to conform to Your will. I want Your will in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is God’s will covered in flesh—I want His will in my life!

One and the Same

MARCH 11

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

It is easy enough to get to know the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees – simply read their encounters with Jesus. If anyone on the planet should have known who Jesus was – it was they. 

The Scribes and Pharisees knew all the prophesies in the Scriptures. They knew there was to be the coming of a Messiah. They knew all the details, but because they studied with their head and not their heart, they didn’t recognize the Messiah when they met Him face to face! They needed wisdom, understanding, and the right kind of knowledge for that, and they hadn’t gained any – not a smidgen. 

The ultimate way to have recognized Jesus was by His love. First, they had to be able to know the love of God. If they spent a lifetime studying the Law, but not been in touch with God enough to know His love, they missed the whole point.

Jesus said they should have recognized Him by His miracles. His miracles were instigated by love, so love and Jesus’ miracles were actually one and the same.

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me recognize the miracle of love You work in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s miracles are love—He will work them in me!

The Right Track

MARCH 10

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

Jesus is love – true, genuine, unconditional love from head to toe. He is the purest form of mercy. He is grace at its greatest. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, then the purpose of the Law must be love, mercy, and grace.

Make the Bible your best friend. The wisdom from it is far beyond awesome. If you don’t spend time with your best friends – they won’t be your best friends for very long. The more time you spend in the Bible, the more you gain understanding of wisdom.

The Scribes and Pharisees spent a lot of time studying the Law, but they failed to gain wisdom and understanding. Why? The heart. If your time in the Bible results in knowledge which lets you appear better than your friends, your righteousness will never exceed that of the Scribes or Pharisees.

If your Bible time results in your heart breaking from your own sin, and the cruelties of the world, and you want to do something to make the world a better place – you’re on the right track!

 PRAYER

God of Mercy, Please help me learn the Bible with my heart, not my head. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the heart of the Law—He wants it in my heart!