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!

From the Letter to the Spirit

FEBRUARY 26

MATTHEW 5:18_pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Here is the point of Jesus’ principle, till all be fulfilled. Notice how Jesus took specific steps to emphasize His point. 

First, He began with the verily: [I solemnly declare, sacred, seriously and thoughtfully, emphatically, affirm]. He’s grabbing our attention right from the get-go.

Second, Jesus makes clear the time frame He is addressing, till heaven and earth pass away, as long as the world we live in lasts. 

Third, Jesus shows the inclusiveness of every part of the Law, jots and tittles [tiniest of strokes]. Even these will stand, last, and endure.

Had Jesus stopped with these three points we would all be living under the Law. The fulfillment takes us from the letter of the Law to the spirit of the Law. The Law, and the strictest keeping of it, can never equal the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. His death gave us new life. Jesus’ resurrection opened the door for eternity. 

If you are confused about fulfillment, and the judgment and mercy balance – stay tuned. In just a few more verses Jesus will take more specific steps to explain.

PRAYER

Saving Jesus, Please guide me with Your truth, step by step. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ is the spirit of the Law—I should be too!

Jesus’ Destructive Agenda

FEBRUARY 22

MATTHEW 5:17_I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

There was hardly anything destructive about Jesus’ earthly life. He came to heal the sick, give hope to the destitute, set demonic captives free, raise the dead, and above all else, freely give eternal life. His earthly purpose from beginning to end was mercy and love.

However, He did have one destructive agenda – hypocrisy. This would be hypocrisy among the God followers, salt that’s been contaminated with arrogance and lust, and lost its savor. Lights that shine only to bring self-glory. Those were things for which Jesus showed zero tolerance. 

He did not hesitate to call the guilty appropriate names, and in one instance physically remove their presence from the temple.

To destroy the law or prophets was far from Jesus’ purpose. He made it very clear He was their fulfillment. The balance Jesus brought between the judgment of the Old Testament and the mercy of the New Testament was something Jesus alone could achieve.

To have too much of one and not enough of the other is destructive. Salt and light require the perfect balance of each.

PRAYER

Righteous Jesus, Help me to never fall into hypocrisy. Make me aware if I’m heading in that direction and re-direct my steps. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

 Christ balances judgment and mercy—Praise Him!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A True Prophet

 FEBRUARY 21

MATTHEW 5:17_or the prophets…

Many prophets of the Old Testament knew persecution – first hand (go back to verse 12). The prophets were men and women God used to speak His words to His people.

To tell a true prophet from a false was simple enough. The true prophet’s prophesies always came true – exactly as God had given. If the prophesy was some type of judgment for disobedience, the result was persecution for the prophet. The power-people of the day resented someone telling them the truth of God’s Word. They were able to discern for themselves what was best – or they had people to do that. Their people were far more gifted and trained than people who called themselves prophets of God … or so they thought!

If the prophesy took decades, centuries, or millenniums to be fulfilled, the recognition of the true prophet could be discounted by the power-people.

Jesus taught from the writings of the prophets. He even taught about Himself – to those who had the heart and wisdom to understand. 

Jesus is the balance between the prophesies of the Old Testament and the truths of the New Testament.  

PRAYER

Great Balancer, Help me balance judgment and mercy in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Great Balancer—He will balance me!    

The Great Balancer

FEBRUARY 20

MATTHEW 5:17_Think not that I am come to destroy the law…

Jesus is many things and all of them are perfection. One thing He does best is balance. Jesus balances the scales better than anyone. The primary reason is because Jesus is balance – it is the crux of His being. 

Jesus’ ministry was not meant to destroy the Law. He makes that clear. That does not mean He did not make changes. Jesus’ death made obsolete the necessity of animal sacrifices. His death also did away with the Holy of Holies. Jesus is the door for all to come into His Father’s presence. 

Jesus fulfills all the laws – by who He is.

A salty disciple never dismisses the Old Testament. To be a Jesus follower is not a New Testament practice. It is a Bible practice. Because you do not find the name Jesus in the Old Testament does not mean He is not there.  As the Creator, Jesus was present from the beginning. As a New Testament Rabbi, Jesus taught the Law. He did not come to destroy it.

Jesus came to balance the Law because Jesus is the balance of judgment and mercy.

PRAYER

Creator God, Please open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my heart to receive the truths of the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen. 

Christ is the Creator—He created me!