Matthew 5 (cont.)
For thousands of years the Jewish people have been chasing after laws for righteous living and salvation. There were laws given to Moses from God, and the hundreds more the Jewish leaders created themselves over the years.
Jesus is about to teach the true heart of the problem.
Chapter 5 is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It starts with the Beatitudes…a series of “blessings” for right living. These things confuse the religious leaders. It isn’t what they expect from the Messiah. They have built their empires on being strong, admired, adored, sought after, and here Jesus comes and says to be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, thirsting for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted is to be blessed and rewarded.
Jesus is trying to tell them it isn’t about the laws and power and admiration, it is about the condition of your heart. Before going further, He tells them that in His coming and teaching He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The law isn’t obsolete. He is teaching a different way to follow it. Where we could never keep the law, Jesus came to do that for us. He came to fulfill what we never could.
He goes on…
You say you haven’t murdered anyone? Jesus says, have you ever been angry with your brother? Same thing.
You say you haven’t committed adultery? Jesus says, have you ever looked at anyone with lush? Guilty.
He tells them to scrap the old ideas of retaliation and instead turn the other cheek. Give generously. Go the extra mile.
He tells them to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.
Jesus is teaching that we need to work on our heart, not the law. It isn’t about trying harder; it is about loving more. Out of this heart transformation obedience flows.
Sin and lack of obedience is a heart issue, not a try-harder issue. THIS is what we need to examine and get right.
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