Everyone Has It!

MARCH 2

MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…

Jesus teaches something worse than to break even the least commandment – teach others to do the same. You can directly teach someone, or you can teach by influence. The power of influence is tremendous – and everyone has it!

You can’t keep commandments and make wise decisions in your own strength. When it comes to sin there is a one-size-fits-all consequence – eternal separation from God. Romans 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James 2:10 (KJV) “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” God’s compassion and forgiveness make a way to fix that. You need Jesus!

A hypocrite is a professing Christian who lives contrary (including influence) to the principles and teachings of the Bible. In other words, to be a Christian who is void of salt and light. The hypocrite will not cause anyone to thirst for truth – salt contaminated by the lures of the world and lost savor. No weary traveler will find the path to freedom through the darkness of a hypocrite.

You may not believe you are accountable for your influence. If someone makes a poor decision because of your influence, it is no different from your direct teaching. Everyone is responsible for their decisions – they can’t blame anyone else. But you are accountable for your contributing influence. And this is Jesus who says there will be a consequence.

Your call to be salt and light includes your influence. Contribute a salty-lit-up influence!

To really know Jesus is to know He is not about judgment and punishment. Jesus is the very embodiment of love, mercy, and grace. But it is also Jesus who warns there are consequences in life. This is why He draws attention to the importance of living in accordance with the commandments.

Just as the laws of the land, God’s laws are for your safety and protection. 

PRAYER

Precious Jesus, I want my life to be salt and light to those thirsty and in darkness. I want this to be true in whatever You call me to do in life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is mercy and grace—I want to live like that!

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 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!