Sunday, May 20, 2012

Those Pesky Red Letters - Book of Matthew - Part 4

   Thank you for reading part four of my series, Those Pesky Red Letters.  Writing it has been more involved than I thought it would be.  It would probably do you well to go back and check them out.  You can find the start of the series here.  From there you will find links to the various posts in the series.

   In the last post I wrote on the Jesus and his proclamation about obeying the law.  I have been giving it a fair amount of thought and I personally feel that he was referring to the commandments of God and not all of the detailed Law and ritual of the Jews.  Lets take the first section of examples of Law, murder.  You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.'(NIV Matt 5:21)  Here Jesus gives a couple of examples about treating people with respect as well as murder.  This section could really have been titled "Respecting People", but murder is such a vicious subject I think that it clouds the meaning behind this text.  Don't forget that Christ also talks about insulting people here as well.

   When Christ said, When anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement (NIV Matt 5:22) wasn't he telling us to guard the spiritual part of us that compels us to commit crimes?  It is also worth noting that some texts add without cause after brother which is quite important.  When you synthesize it all together you find that Jesus was warning us that our heart controls our actions and that we are in danger when we let that happen.  However, in his infinite wisdom he also concluded that there are times when anger is justified and right.  For us today we have to use the teachings of the Bible to determine the path to follow.  When it doubt open your Bible to Exodus 20 and read.  If what you are planning or thinking are covered anywhere in those commandments then you risk sinning.

   Next Jesus speaks to us about divorce and adultery which are separated in the NIV and I don't think they should be.  In my opinion they are of the same vein and refer to the Seventh Commandment, do not commit adultery.  Again he uses language that shows us that temptation is paramount to action.  If we let our lusts run rampant then they will begin to taint the rest of our lives.  I'm sure we all have stories that illustrate the dangers here.  The issue of divorce is very important as well, and I feel that there is a lot more to that verse than can be literally interpreted.  It goes into woman's rights as children of God and that marriage is a union before Him that isn't to be taken lightly.  When a man signs a piece of paper divorcing his wife God does not acknowledge it and considers the couple to still be wed unless there was sexual infidelity.  When those people find other partners they are adulterating because their union is before God and not the law of men.   I think there is a whole post here that I will get back to one day as God guides my words.

   Now we get to oaths.  Jesus tells us that we are not supposed to swear by things and that to do so comes from Satan.  Simply put, we shouldn't have to boast oaths to be honest and upright.  There should never be a need to swear on anything and if you do they are not yours to use as collateral.  All things belong to God, even the hair on our heads.  I have also read that Jews used the various oaths listed here so that they could break them at will since any oath that didn't carry the name of God wasn't binding.  I am sure that had a part in the teachings as well.  In the end it is simple, really, as long as we are honest and true then everything we say is just and oaths are simply not needed.

   Part five will involve the final concepts and teachings in Matthew 5.  I hope to have it up soon.  Thank you again for reading!  I hope it helps you to find your way in God and if you know anyone else that could use it, please feel free to share!

Part 3 <-Previous Next-> Part 5

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