“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” (Matthew 5:17)
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went through old laws and Scriptures to give deeper meaning and understanding to them. In this series, we are going to look at how Jesus redefined different laws, ideas, and notions by expanding their meanings and, thus, our understanding of the Scriptures.
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 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.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
“Thou shall not kill.” We have the same law in America today. We all understand that it is wrong and a crime to murder. Jesus redefined anger and put it on the same level as murder. Now, chances are that you haven’t murdered anyone, but you’ve been angry with someone. Jesus equated anger with murder. It’s not okay to call someone names, it’s not okay to curse someone—to wish them ill will or hope for something awful to happen to them. Jesus has elevated the standard and, as His followers, we are held to that standard.
“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:20)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
If you are angry with someone or someone is angry with you, you are called to “go and be reconciled to that person” (Matthew 5:24). As followers of Christ there is no room for anger, name-calling, and cursing others. We are held to a higher-standard, one set by Jesus.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.