“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(The Christian’s) righteousness is a given righteousness. Nowhere do we get the idea that the servant of God achieves in his own strength the kind of living that gives him (right) standing before God.
Matthew 5:21, 22
“You have heard that it was said to those of old…But I say to you.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Why did Jesus start with these two sins?
They are common to all people and 2 of the Ten Commandments!
The progression of Jesus’ message in both cases:
1. He begins with Action—external and obvious.
2. He moves to Attitude—internal and overlooked.
3. He reveals the Answer— immediate and complete.
Murder/Anger (v. 21-26)
The first murder is in Genesis 4:8.
“Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
It makes the hated list in Proverbs.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil.”
It even shows up at the end in Revelation 22:15.
“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Everyone knows how grievous a sin murder is…now Jesus ties anger to it with an unbreakable knot.
Three examples to clarified the anger he is talking about:
What should we do?
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
What should we learn?
To the crowds— Jesus is saying come!
To the disciples—Jesus is saying follow me!
What Jesus aiming at in this part of the message is that we will despair of our own futile attempts at righteousness and receive his righteousness; that we will understand the only remedy for our own wicked, sin stained heart is a new heart that God gives as a gift of his grace.
David and Bathsheba—2 Samuel 11
J.F. MacArthur, Jr.
“As always, the impossibility that He sets forth has a twofold purpose: to make men and women despair of their own righteousness and to seek His. The Lord’s remedy for a wicked heart is a new heart, and His answer for our helplessness is His sufficiency.”