As a leader and teacher of sorts throughout my life it still amazes me how a truth can be distorted, manipulated, enhanced and embellished to the point it is no longer truth. “They said, you said, he said, she said” has to be sorted out to find truth and settle unmerited differences. That is the world in which we live. It was the world in which God’s people lived in Jesus’ earth living days, too. Jesus was sent to seek and to save the world but while on earth the Teacher explains what God wants from all of us. Because the people haven’t heard this kind of teaching before they gather on a mountain top to hear what Jesus has to say.
We will notice throughout the Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” that He often begins explaining God’s Original Commandments with “You have heard it said…” or “You were told…” Jesus immediately follows with, “But I say to you…”. Then He teaches what God had in mind when He gave the original commandments to Moses. Remember the big Ten which God told to Moses and had him engrave on stone tablets? (No printers or copy machines back then!)
Where IS that in the Bible, you ask?
The original Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20:1-7. This is good, highly recommended reading as we study Matthew’s gospel for it is the background of Jesus’ words on the mountain. The Master Teacher begins what his audience of common Jewish people may know then takes them farther in their understanding with the “why” behind the commandment of God. Jesus shows all of us how to apply what we know to how we live. Don’t you love that? Nothing left to wonder here.
Jesus teaches all of us we must control our anger for it will lead to “firey” outcomes. We must be reconciled to God AND reconciled with our brothers and sisters to walk with God. And finally, we must settle our differences before the outcomes of disagreements are worse than the original conflict.
In these three scenarios, Jesus presents the heart of God’s character. He shows us how to present ourselves to God with clean hearts and reconciled relationships. This is how redeemed people live from day to day.
Matthew—The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 5:21-26, NLT
Teaching about Anger
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
Abba, Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be your Name. May Your Kingdom come and live in me and may your glory be seen all around me. May Your Will be done in every detail of my life on earth today as it is in heaven. I want what you want. Give us this day a revelation of you, guidance by you, realizing the depth of your love. And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, gossip about us, or merely offend who we are in you. Lead us not into temptations to fight back but to reconcile with unconditional love. You have all power to deliver us from the evil one who prods us to do all that is opposite of your character. Deliver us from this evil. To you be all glory! Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen