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 5:20_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!
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!
MATTHEW 5:18_one jot or one tittle shall in no wise…
Okay, so we have a couple of odd words in this verse. What in the world is a jot, or a tittle?
A jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A very tiny symbol. It looks rather similar to our comma.
A tittle is just a stroke used in the Hebrew alphabet to distinguish between the letters. In the Greek, it may have been considered as something like an accent mark.
The minuteness of these symbols is Jesus’ way of placing emphasis on the importance of the Law. Think about His emphasis. Even the tiniest strokes of a pen made in the writing of the laws will stand as long as the heaven and the earth.
The laws were written for instruction.
The coming of Jesus to the earth did not destroy the importance, or the power, of the Law. His earthly presence gave purpose to the Law as it gave purpose to all life as we know it. We have previously mentioned there are portions of the Law which Jesus’ earthly presence caused to become irrelevant.
Best of all, Jesus’ earthly presence gave purpose for a life yet to come, a new heaven and a new earth.
Holy Jesus, I don’t want to miss one jot or one tittle of Your teachings. I want to gain all the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge You offer me in this life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ knows what endures for eternity—My 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 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.
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 5:16_glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
The fact that we are not good is the reason we need a savior. Eternal life cannot be purchased in any way, shape, or fashion. It is a free gift to no-good people – amazing, huh?
The final piece of Jesus’ teaching on light is the foundation not only of the light principle, but of the very purpose of life – to glorify God. That is the good work!
Every time no-good people feed the hungry (physically and spiritually), visit the sick (physically and spiritually), minister to the captive (physically and spiritually), and welcome the stranger, they do good works.
Every time no-good people do something good, God is glorified. Why? Because those works show God is The God of the Impossible. They show God’s purpose for no-good lives is to transform and use them – for good.
A power-packed light is shining – God’s amazing love. He gives love to the no-goods. This astounds people who are around us and involved in our lives. After all, they remember we were no-good! When they not only see us do good works, but may themselves be the recipients, they are amazed. They are overwhelmed with wonder, not of who we are but of who God is. And of what He can do in the life of a no-good!
Holy Lord, I know I am not good, but I praise You that You can transform me to do good! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love is for no-good people—His love is for me!