Hello, I’m back. Its been a while I know. To recap we just went over the beatitudes. These are things we should exhibit in our own lives. Best if we try and pick ourselves back up when we fail. The goal is perfection through Christ, not above Christ. We can’t do it on our own, but he will be there to pick us up when we don’t succeed. Its the honest attempt that he cares about. Now we will continue with the rest of Matthew 5.
Salt And Light
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Matthew 5:13 KJV
This would be something everyone would have understood at the time. However now it is easy to forget what salt is used for. Today we add it for taste. While that is one use of salt, this is more like preservation. Salt was a very common thing for preservation because they did not have refrigeration or any kind of cooling. So meat and other things were dried and salted.
Another property of salt is it induces thirst. So what is this verse really saying here. Well, we are to be thirsty and make others thirsty for the word of God. Often it is called the living water because of this motif. He also wants use to preserve ourselves and the others around us.
Often I hear that Christian’s are not to be involved in world affairs but I would argue we are charged to be part of such things. We are to preserve our community. When we as Christians loose our thirst for the word, our ministry loses flavor. Then we are only good to be, trodden upon. Its a warning to those who do not preserve! If we do not preserve then we will be trampled.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Matthew 5:14-16 KJV
As you might know the primary form of light back in the day was fire. If you did not have it you would not be able to see in the dark. Light radiates out from itself. Jesus is instructing his people to be aware of there actions. It will radiate out into the world like a light on a hill. So do what is right because everyone will see it. The analogy assumes night. If you have ever been out to the country and saw a single house lit up and nothing around it, you notice that house no matter what.
The same can be said for Christians. Even the slightest of missteps will be taken note of. You will be labeled a hypocrite, and surely people will say, “Christians are just like us so why follow Christ?” So ensure that you have good works and be a testament to Jesus. God hates a liar, so don’t be counted as one.
Christ Came To Fulfill The Law
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Matthew 5:17-18 KJV
You should take pause when you see language like this. He has not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it. Just to make this clear. We are going to look at the word destroy here. Katalysai (καταλῦσαι), it has a few meanings but Kata means to loosen down or to demolish, like a building. However it can also mean, to halt for the night or to end a shift. I think that is key to understanding this verse.
So we got another operative word, which is fulfill. Plerosai (πληρῶσαι), so it comes from the word pleres, which means to make replete, to cram, level up, or to furnish, satisfy, execute, finish, verify. I think that is clear that is means to complete or finish. So he did not come to end the Law, he came to finish the Law.
At the time this verse would have been perplexing to say the least, and not well liked among the spiritual authorities. So what does it mean today, do we follow the Law or disregard it.
Jesus certainly did complete the Law, not only as a sacrifice we all remember that he died for our sins, however we tend to forget, he lived a perfect life. So not only did he save us in his death but he lived his life so we are free to live our lives. The Law very much so is still a thing. However, Christ already completed the Law for us.
This is a crude view but V for Vendetta, when everyone put the mask on at the end. They were all V. Well that is a similar thing for us Christians. When we put the blood of Christ on we are all Christ because he completed the Law we also have completed the Law by his virtue, and not our own.
You see the Law was never meant to be completed by mortal man, it took God in the form of mortal man to complete it. It is however very important still. It diagnosis a problem. Without the Law we would not be able to see our predicament.
The verse is begging to be paid attention to, Christ wants us to take him seriously. Not only that but he is very clear. All will be finished in the whole book, before it is all over with. Even the jot and tittle, or the dotting of every i and crossing of every t. I might even suggest further that even the hidden scriptures, and between the characters, lies still things we will only understand later in the text.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:19 KJV
This should be a warning to you. Do not take the Lords name in vain. I want to beat that into your mind. That is not a question of saying Gods name. His name is YHWH and I am not afraid to say it. So what is taking the Lords name in vain. Its calling yourself a Christian or chosen or saying you believe in God but do not keep his commandments.
If you teach them then you know them, yet, you don’t keep them yourself. I am sure that boils God’s blood. Especially those that look down on others who blatantly don’t follow them.
We got a problem though, at least I do, and I am pretty sure you do. I can’t keep them while relying on myself to do so. It is only when we rely on God that we can manage such a task. Even still I am sure there are commands that I am not mindful of and yet I brake them.
The commands were never meant to be used to save us. We are fallen and there is no way to save ourselves. We must rely on someone above to do so. That person is Christ. I believe the Jewish people are trying to be best of there ability to keep the Law. There have a vast system of legalism because of it and they strictly adhere to it or at least attempt to. The problem arrives when that inevitable misstep occurs.
They are guilty of a death sentence according to the Law. That is it. They are done. There is no salvation. They are damned. That is why the Law cannot save anyone. Only through Christ we can be saved.
So what are these commands. A lot of people think well commands, must be the ten commandments. While they are partly right more so for us after being saved, we look to Jesus for our way of living and not the Law anymore. It is good to remember them but Jesus calls us to an even higher law. Right here, chapter 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew are a great place to find the commandments Jesus is speaking to. That is the whole point of the scriptures, it is to instill goodness in men.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:20 KJV
Once again, how can you exceed there righteousness. This wasn’t just a salty statement from Jesus, he meant it. How can you actually achieve this though. Its not an action thing, Jesus is not impressed with someones actions. A King can do more good in his life in a day than a poor beggar can in a life time. Its is a heart issue. If the heart is good naturally you will see outward actions. However if the heart is ill you will naturally see inward actions. Meaning if you are doing God’s work and things for God, it does not matter your reward, it is a conviction, it pains you to see whatever it is. However, if you are doing things just to be recognized and have everyone think you are good, watch out.
Jesus is not concerned with the outward actions of an individual, he cares about what is going on inside.
21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.Matthew 5:21-22
Though shall not murder. One of the ten commandments. This is where Jesus is teaching that higher righteousness. You are not to be even angry with your bother, WITHOUT A CAUSE. Meaning you are angry for the sake of being angry. If there is truly a reason to be angry, you are allowed to be angry. HOWEVER, to be angry without cause is a sin and it will be counted against you.
Though I will note, the without cause may have been added to the scriptures as an editorial notation. There are some version of this text where the words do not appear.
He goes even further, he says if you say Raca. What is Raca (Ῥακά)? “O empty one.” “Thou worthless” meaning you diminish him that is even worse. You have then committed murder in your heart. That is the same as actually murdering him. We should never do this.
Now the earthly repressions is a counsel or more properly the Sanhedrin (συνεδρίῳ). That is a place where the Jewish leaders would gather like court and hear one’s case. However, Jesus says you will be in danger of Hell Fire, Gehennna (γέενναν).
What this verse is calling for us to do is not fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can have our arguments but never come to hate one. This goes for anyone though. It is not clear if Jesus was talking about his followers or not. I am going to air on the side of caution and believe he was not.
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
So this might be a little strange to read so basically its like this. Jesus is talking to Jews. They still go to the temple to worship. Churches have not yet been established so they are still doing the normal offerings. When they present there offerings to the alter, Jesus is instructing them not to be at odds with anyone. If they are at odds with someone that they should reconcile with them.
You see Jesus warns of anger, because anger makes people do strange things. One such thing is to lie. Meaning that person may go to the authorities a say you did something you really did not. They will try to get you to be imprisoned. It goes over how they would go about doing that but that is the gist of what he is saying.
Jesus also says Verily here. Whenever you see this pay attention. He is doing something very specific here. He is saying “I say this to you” meaning he has lifted his teaching above that of Moses. Remember Moses to the Jews was the writer of the Law. God entrusted him with the Ten Commandments and the Law, there is almost no one more revered in there community, maybe Abraham. So this is shots fired. At the time language like this is severe.
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.Matthew 5:27-28 KJV
It can be very easy to lust after someones. Jesus puts the bar pretty high for us, to even look at someone and lust, and lust is not just pervy sexual stuff, but to even look at someone is like adultery. Yikes! We have a problem. Our entire society is based on this currency. We all want to be attractive. We want others to lust after us even if we don’t recognize that is what we are doing.
Its really hard, you see a sexy girl and you think things, and ladies don’t tell me you don’t see the bulge in a guys pants and think he has a large wallet. No, but seriously those are the more obvious examples of this. However the more subtle ones are perhaps even worse.
There is nothing wrong with being attractive but within reason. You don’t want to tempt others. You also may have a really stunning personality like me (just kidding) but you also need to keep that in check as well. For as much as we don’t like to admit it, we have a hand in drawing someone to lust as well.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
This can be pretty grim, plucking out eyes and chopping off hands is pretty serious stuff. I don’t think he was joking though or making an analogy. I think it is just as it says.
Its amazing how hard it is to fight our urges. I personally go through a struggle every single day with things. I for one don’t eat carbs or at least I avoid them. However, some days, if I have a pie, or a cake, I will have carbs. I don’t need it, but I want it. Now its not a sin, but how much more so should we avoid our sins and yet, like a dog eats its own vomit, we come back for more. We know how sick and evil it is and yet we keep going back to it.
If you are tempted to steal, removing your arm will surely make that harder to do. The same with your sight. You must find a way to deal with your sins and keep them under control or else they will control you. Now I don’t think at the first sign of sin you should lop off your arm. In fact I don’t think you should at all, but Jesus has thought that way.
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.Matthew 5:31-32 KJV
This is a very pertinent topic in today’s culture. People get divorced for a plethora of reasons. Most of them being not recognized by God. Ultimately. they will be however they would clearly be viewed as immoral. God calls a man and woman to cling together and not be separate once married. It is so important. Yet today many treat it as a things. Divorce really should be rare if ever in our vocabulary at all. Only in cases of fornication, what is fornication? Moicheuthēnai (μοιχευθῆναι), to have sex with someone who is married. Once married we are never to break that oath to a loved one. Never cheat on them. However once they have broken that marriage, they cannot be trusted, and divorce may be allowed. This includes a man as well.
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.Matthew 5:33-35 KJV
In our culture today this is almost none existent as a concept because it has been profaned so much. Jesus is telling us here we are NOT TO SWEAR ON THE BIBLE OR JESUS OR BY GOD! Yet our courts have you swear every time you go in. We are NEVER to do this. In fact you are acting against God if you do. Your word should be stronger than steel. If you say you are going to do something, it should be considered done. If you say something it should be because its true. Do not lie. An old saying I don’t hear too much these days. “My word is my bond.” It should always be true.
Some people have suggested that this is not barring a legal oath, however I would warn someone to ALWAYS tell the truth when taking a legal oath. If you are to take the Lord’s name as your defense you must be TRUTHFUL. I will caution anyone from taking oaths of any kind.
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.Matthew 5:38-39 KJV
Alright, this is a hard thing to explain. We went over this before, however, this is a good place to do it. Jesus is in no way suggestion to let someone beat on you. However, he is asking us to endure for him. If someone strikes you in anger you are not to strike them back. This is not to say if someone is wailing on you, you don’t defend yourself, but you are not to go beyond defending yourself.
The golden rule applies very nicely here. If you strike someone in anger, you would not want to be struck back. If you are striking someone repeatedly and are out for blood you expect to be hit back.
There was also a law in Rome. A Roman had the legal right to hit a non-Roman once. However the guards would grab him if he was hit twice. Jesus is saying allow the authorities to take care of it. Most of the time though if someone is going to hit you more than once they have lost control. Always try to view things from the prospective of others. Do not allow your pride to govern your heart.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.Matthew 5:40 KJV
This is likewise another thing to consider. If someone is in a petty squabble over legalities of minor things just give it to them. In fact give more than he asked for. The cloak in this analogy is worth more than the tunic. So you give him the more valuable of the items. This not only shows the person you meant no harm, but it also says to them you need it more than I do. Its a testimony. God will take care of you no matter what. This is not to say you don’t defend yourself. This is just saying if they are being petty about something like in today’s thing maybe suing you for 20 dollars give them 40. Another thing is avoiding the courts too. Jesus knew Christians would not receive a fair verdict, so avoid courts.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Matthew 5:41-42 KJV
This is not familiar to our vernaculars today. In Roman times a soldier could ask you to carry his burden for a mile. By going two miles you are in fact doing twice as much as you should but also putting that soldier to shame. This could also be at time something as simple as a letter, in which case your by yourself. You would do it for the glory of God and also you would be a patriotic citizen.
So what is this really saying? If anyone asks you to do something, you should do it twice as well, to the best of your ability. God wants us to be model citizens. You are to be twice as good as anyone around you because Jesus is infinitely better than you. People should know you for being reliable and helpful. Have a strong work ethic basically. Something I maybe need to work on. I am sure most of us need to.
Love Your Enemies
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.Matthew 5:43-45 KJV
Jesus is telling us here just what it sounds like. We are not to hate our enemies but we are to love them and there are two ways of looking at this. One way, is it really a test to love someone who loves you… which Jesus will point out. If you love you enemies, how much more do you love those that love you? How much more will you love God?
It is hard to love someone who does not like you. They say all kinds of terrible words to you and offend you and its well, impossible to deal with at times. They make you want to pull out your hair. But in showing them kindness at times they warm up. I have experienced this myself. Over time people will come around to you, and if they don’t at least they can’t honestly say anything bad about you.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.Matthew 5:46 KJV
Spicey. Publicans were public officials often tasked with taxing. No one likes the tax man. However, we are called to be more loving than that of a tax man. He was really striking at the hearts of people here. I am sure the publicans were not to happy to hear that, or maybe, like Matthew they were?
Now the last part, perfection. That is the standard we should strive to follow. I believe Jesus meant it. Through our lifetime here on earth we are to strive for perfection and nothing less.