shall not murder.” Have you unlawfully shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned
anyone to death? If not, can you say that you’ve kept this
commandment? Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 5:21–26.
of anger! Listen to Jesus. His language is strong, contrasting what
you heard and what he says. Is he doing away with a commandment here?
No. that would contradict what he said about not abolishing but
fulfilling the Law and the Prophets. His expansion on the sins of
murder and adultery would be pointless if he were removing what God
had commanded. Notice that Jesus does not use the way he sometimes
introduces quotes from Scripture, “It is written.” Rather, he
says, “You have heard.” Here, and in the other examples in this
chapter, he quotes a commandment of God—and along with it the
explanation or application made by rabbinic leaders, which sometimes
limited or blunted what God said. In each case, instead of relaxing
what God says, he sharpens it. He gets to the heart of the
commandment and to the attitude behind it. His, “But I say” is an
authoritative claim, see Matthew 7:28–29. He is telling you, as his
disciples, what he, the Messianic King, expects of his subjects. How
do you live in the new era which his coming has introduced? “The
fulfillment of the law, like the fulfillment of the prophets, while
presupposing and reaffirming its divine truth and authority,
predicates the dawn of a new era. The law and the prophets do not
produce their own fulfillment. It is the presence of Christ alone
which accomplishes this end, and this fact, in the light of Matthew’s
total witness to Christ, clearly involves new divine action and
speech. The fulfillment of the law and the prophets represents not a
mere repetition or reiteration of the old revelation, but the
announcement of the appearance of the age to which the old age looked
forward.” (pp. 197–198). “No hint is given of a relaxing of the
authority of the law; on the contrary he indicates that the demands
of God are more comprehensive and more exacting than men had
supposed.” (p. 199). (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew
and Mark to Christ).
Continue reading “Anger and Reconciliation”
do you answer someone who says, “The 10 Commandments have nothing
to do with the life of a Christian”? What does Jesus say about the
Law in Matthew 5:17–20?
important are the Law and the Prophets? Jesus does not abolish the
Law. Jesus may have made this remark because he was accused of doing
away with the Law. Later in this Gospel we see him reacting strongly
against the additional burdens that the scribes and Pharisees had
added to the Law. But, as we will see, what Jesus opposes is not the
Law of God, but the human additions to it.
Continue reading “Fulfilling the Law and the Prophets”
does it mean to let your light shine before men? The song, “This
little light of mine,” gives one impression. In Matthew 5:11–16
we see a richer, more powerful, and brighter picture.
Continue reading “Salt and Light”
is the last time you heard someone say he or she was blessed?
When did you last use that word to describe yourself? In Matthew
5:1–12 Jesus uses the word repeatedly to describe those who make up
his kingdom. He uses it to describe you.
are blessed. Listen to your King. Matthew in chapter 4, told you that
Jesus went throughout Galilee preaching the good news of the Kingdom.
Now the apostle give you a sample of that preaching. The kingdom is
present, because the King is there. He is speaking authoritatively.
He goes up a mountain, not necessarily to the very top, and crowds
gather to hear him. You have echos of God speaking from Mount Sinai.
Then only Moses could ascend the mountain. This time the crowds can
approach, because one greater than Moses is speaking. He is the
perfect mediator. Don’t think of this as a contrast between Old
Testament law and New Testament grace. God was gracious at Sinai, and
Jesus in this sermon, challenges you to a whole-hearted obedience.
God had told Israel that they were a kingdom of priests. Now Jesus,
as the great King, instructs you in how to live in his kingdom. “When
Jesus began to talk about the Kingdom, He first wanted to tell who
its citizens were. . . . Grace, His favor that that forgives sin,
reigns supreme in the Kingdom. The citizens of this Kingdom are those
who submit in faith to His grace, who do not trust in their own
wisdom or rely on their own virtues but are wholly dependent on the
grace of God, accepting that grace and making no excuses for
unbelief. People who live by God’s grace in such a way show that they
take after their Father in heaven and resemble Him.” (S. G. De
Graaf, Promise and Deliverance,
Vol. 3, p. 50).
Continue reading “Are You Blessed?”