MATTHEW 5:24_Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way…
Leave your gift! Get off that altar and get to the one you’ve wounded or have some unsettled misunderstanding with, or stolen from, or lied to, or spread lies about, or wronged in some way. If years have separated you, get on social media and find them. If they are in hiding from you, contact a family member, and make a peace offering to get to talk with them.
Whatever you do, do it diligently, and take it seriously. You’ve got a gift and an altar, and you can’t get the two together in your present state.
If you’re serious about loving Jesus, then you must be serious about loving people. That’s what the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t get.
I believe I just saw some scales balance!
It is much easier to love Jesus than people. After all, Jesus has never done you any wrong. All He’s ever done is love you. But check out what Jesus says in Matthew 25:40 (KJV), “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Sounds like Jesus says how you treat people is how you treat Him.
Holy Jesus, I trust You to help me repair any open wounds I have caused. I trust You to help me find my way to the right people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves all people—He will help me love them too!
MATTHEW 5:23_Therefore, if thy bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberst that thy brother has ought against thee;
Don’t be confused about altars. When you come to Jesus’ salvation altar, come with your broken, bleeding, messed up life. This is the time to ask Jesus into your life. He accepts you just as you are. It’s Jesus’ job to clean you up. His full forgiveness is immediate. Then He begins the process to repair the breaks, bind the wounds, and sweep up the mess you call your life. This doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen.
Jesus cleanses like Dove™ – He is not a soap, He is a beauty bar!
The altar in this verse comes after your salvation experience. You are ready and eager to serve Jesus. You come because you want to be a part of the earthly kingdom of heaven. Now Jesus hands the broom to you.
If there are people in your past with wounds you’ve inflicted, Jesus wants you to repair the wounds as much as is possible on your part.
Possibly the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t like this teaching. They believed the Law had to do with loving God, not people. Jesus says the two go together. This is why the Scribes and Pharisees did not know the Messiah when they saw His miracles, or heard Him teach unconditional love.
Neither did they know Him when they slapped Him in the face, spat upon Him, or saw Him die in their place – and asked God to forgive them.
Forgiving God, Praise You that You take me just as I am. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ accepts me—He makes the necessary changes!
MATTHEW 5:22_and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
The word raca is an insult – to speak to someone with contempt. It can also mean, worthless or good for nothing. Anger is destructive enough, but when name calling is added – it pierces much deeper.
The word fool can be translated as an empty-headed idiot. How easily we toss those words around. Maybe we’d be more careful if we thought in terms of killing the one we inflict.
Jesus has something harsh to say about calling someone a fool – the danger of hell fire. Mercy! Sounds like very serious business! The one who is called the names is in a much better place than the one doing the calling.
There are serious fits thrown now! Who does Jesus think He is? Only the Scribes and Pharisees control Law teachings. How dare He transform the Law to compare murder with how we treat our fellow man!
I believe Jesus wants us to do some heart checking. We have said what is in our heart will eventually come out of our mouth – we can take that to the bank. It never fails.
There is enough meanness in the world – it doesn’t need to come from Christians.
Great God, I don’t want to be mean or cruel. Please change my heart so it loves like Jesus. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has a loving heart—He can give me one!
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_you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
If the kingdom of heaven is within you, it is in your heart. What is in your heart calls you to discipleship. You become disciples to whomever or whatever reigns on the heart’s throne. If Christ does not reign on the throne, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, and this time that works whether the kingdom is part of this earthly life, or it is eternal life.
The hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of religion. They would have had to make room for Jesus to reign there. If Jesus reigned in their hearts, they would have known who He was.
The Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness was self-righteousness, thriving on self-glory and power. The righteousness in the kingdom of heaven thrives on doing good by serving others, which glorifies God. The heart, being the center of your thoughts, makes the decision as to who you want your life to glorify – self or God.
You have only one chance to live this life. If your goal is to use your life to make a difference in the world for good – then you’ve got Jesus’ righteousness.
The world will recognize Jesus when it sees your righteousness.
Heavenly Father, Thank You that You can be seen in me. Thank You that through Your power I can do Your works. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ reigns in hearts—I want Him in mine!