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.
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!
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 listening to this sermon 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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!