MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…
Jesus asks us to compare our righteousness to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If we’d been trained and educated in the Law to the degree they had, we’d be one of them.
Look closer. Jesus does not want just a comparison. He wants our righteousness to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees! What? How can an average Sunday school, church-goer have more righteousness than the educated, religious power-people?
Can it be that Jesus is not impressed with the Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness? How is that possible? They were all about the Law, and Jesus just finished teaching the importance of the Law. He taught He did not come to earth to destroy the Law.
Also, He had just taught that to break even the least commandment carries with it a heavy consequence – to be least in the kingdom of heaven! So, why does Jesus not stand in awe of the ones who spend their time teaching and observing it?
Holy God, I want my righteousness to be more than knowledge. Please teach me how to live it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ lives righteousness—He wants me to do that too!
MATTHEW 5:18_Till heaven and earth pass…
Do you believe there will be an end to the world? Does that mean an end of time? If the world ends, will time continue? If time does not continue, can there be an eternity?
The apostle John brings an end to the present heaven and earth in his book, The Revelation, the final book in the Bible. In it he refers to a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:1 (KJV), “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
When there is no more earth, the sea shall also have passed away. It may seem easier to understand the destruction of the earth than the heaven, but this is not the heaven of heavens (I Kings 8:27 KJV).
Jesus made His statement in this verse long before John wrote The Revelation. Jesus knew the current world as we know it would have an end.
The laws God gave to Moses belong to this life. Jesus has already declared He will not destroy the laws, but be their fulfillment. What Jesus says next makes it clear that the Law is not going anywhere as long as we are living in this life.
Lord Jesus, Thank You that You will bring a new heaven and a new earth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ knows this life will cease—He offers me new life!
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 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.
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!
MATTHEW 7:25_and the winds blew…
We live in an extremely high-tech world. Technology out dates itself at a fast pace. The newest mesmerizing product of today may be outdated in less than a year. Those of us who do not claim to be techies feel like we are giving out of steam just trying to keep up. Do you ever think it is astounding what the human mind can devise? I do!
For all our brilliance and intelligence, there is much we cannot control—most belongs to the world of nature. How about the wind for one example? Can you start it? Can you stop it? We are not talking about man-made fans. We are talking about the wind. Wind is not controlled by human intelligence or muscle. In the cases of natural disasters the wind may help to clean away debris, or bring more destruction to what is already weak and broken.
In John 3:8, Jesus says, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
We cannot see the Holy Spirit, but we know when He dwells in us.
We know because He teaches us truth.
Jesus Lord, With the Holy Spirit I can be strong against the world. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is stronger than the world—I want His power!
MATTHEW 7:24_Therefore, whosoever…
Remember, the word therefore has an important purpose. Go back to Jesus’ previous principle. He is about to give you more clarification and some new insight. In this verse He sends you back to the very beginning of the sermon. He wants you to apply this final teaching to the entire sermon.
My sister in Jesus, Joan Morris, sent me an email. In it she made a statement which fits so well the therefore and the whosoever. She said, “The mind is a mysterious keeper of our past, both good and bad.” I really like that and fully agree. God created the mysterious keeper. Like everything; He wants it to be used for your good. If God created something for good, the devil will do all he can to use it for destruction. He knows the bad of the past in your keeper. He whispers the bad into your mind for as long as you allow yourself to listen.
Therefore, Jesus has given you the greatest sermon ever preached by anyone at any time in history. He preached it for everyone—whosoever. He wants this sermon seared into your mysterious keeper. He wants it to be available throughout your life. One time through will not get it.
Commit to reading these devotionals next year.
Almighty God, Praise You for teaching me so much truth! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s sermon teaches the truths of life—I will study!