MATTHEW 6:12_And forgive us…
If Jesus taught no more than the first three words of this verse, He would have taught a vital part of prayer.
The Scribes and Pharisees saw life as a set of laws. They had the laws down pat, snug in their hip pockets (if they had hip pockets). They knew the rules, and kept them, why would they need forgiveness? That is, if all that mattered was rule keeping.
Jesus taught life as more about loving God and each other. He taught to give more than receive. This kind of life causes me to see my weaknesses and failures. That leads me to my knees to ask God’s forgiveness. Psalm 51 (KJV), “1 Have mercy upon me [King David], O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
King David asks forgiveness for his sin. He also acknowledges something very important—his sin was primarily against God.
Any and all sins are against God.
Forgiving God, I know when I have wronged Your people I have wronged You. Forgive me and change me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ desires to forgive—He wants me to ask Him!
MATTHEW 5:40_let him have thy cloak also.
Come on Lord Jesus, there’s radical and then there’s … crazy! I mean, look at the facts:
I lost the case and with it my life’s savings.
I hate it because I don’t feel I was wrong.
I hate it because it will destroy my current lifestyle.
I hate it because it causes a pain in the pit of my stomach.
I hate it because it takes away my peaceful sleep.
Jesus says the remedy for my ailments is to give my enemy more than I’m obligated? No way! That will make me sicker!
Write this out on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it regularly: My being good does not impress Jesus. My doing good does. The Scribes and Pharisees were good. They knew and kept the laws. They failed to do good by loving their fellow man and leading them to freedom.
The Great Healer’s radical cure requires action. Action that comes from who’s in charge of your heart – you or Jesus?
Holy Jesus, I need Your help so I can do good and not just talk about being good. I need faith to believe in Your radical cures. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ does good—He will teach me!
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!