Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jesus knows Matthew 5:21-37

Jesus knows how we tick--especially inside. Jesus' preaching on a Galilean mountaintop in Matthew 5:21-37 reveals just how much he gets us. Listen close to His words. He's talking about "private" thoughts and naming them as sin Matthew 5:21-23, Matthew 5:27-28. He's talking about forgiveness. He's calling his people to step away from the altar to make peace with a neighbor before making an offering Matthew 5:24-26. He speaks about sin and breaking away from it Matthew 5:29-31. He speaks of divorce and vows Matthew 5:31-37.

Jesus boldly points to real sins, murder and adultery, that occur in thoughts as much as actions. He speaks to the harm caused by broken relationship. In short Jesus is showing clear that he knows us. He says there's no difference between the sins present "only" in the space between hearts and heads as in bodily actions.

Jesus leaves no doubt. Anyone who has lusted is guilty of adultery Matthew 5:27-28. Anyone who has raged against another, even without expressing such inner thoughts, is guilty of sin Matthew 5:21-23. There's no medieval quibbling about venial and mortal sin for Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Sin is sin. It breaks relationships and He calls us to repair broken relationships on our way to the altar. Our enraged or lustful thoughts break relationships. It's our thoughts that stop us from seeing our neighbors as equal creatures in God's eyes.

And here Jesus calls us out. He sees the very ones he'd die to save. And he calls out our sin. There's no space for hypocrisy here. All have sinned either through their bodies or in their minds. There's no fake holiness. Just conviction and direction to make right the relationships we've broken.
Peace, and thanks for reading. John

No comments: