Summary: Jesus tells us that sin is universal and destructive.
There was a difference in the teaching of Jesus and that of the religious leaders. It is emphasized at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, where we're told, "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes," (Matthew 7:28-29 ESV).
How was Jesus' teaching different? His teaching was characterized by:
The Scribes backed up their teaching by appealing to other authorities.
"He was teaching them as one who had authority [to teach entirely of His own volition], and not as their scribes [who relied on others to confirm their authority]." - Matthew 7:29 (Amplified)
Jesus didn't rely on any authority other than Himself. After all, keep in mind, He was the Law giver.
"'Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.' The people said, 'You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?' Jesus answered,
'I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!' At that point they picked up stones to throw at him." - John 8:56-59 (NLT)
Jesus claimed to be the God of the Old Testament, who called Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel; the God who had appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and gave the law to Moses; the law He was commenting on in the Sermon on the Mount. "You have heard . . . But I tell you . . ." He spoke with divine authority.
Jesus said this about the Scribes and Pharisees in His day:
"Do not do as they do; for they preach [things], but do not practice them." - Matthew 23:3 (Amplified)
But the life of Jesus was consistent with what He taught; and in every measure pure and holy. About His relationship to the Law, Jesus said:
"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." - Matthew 5:17 (NIV)
The life of Jesus fulfilled the very letter of the law. Therefore, He could teach with consistency, because His walk matched His talk.
The Scribes focused on coming up with ways to make sure you obeyed the law. In their desire to uphold the law, for example, they had written rule after rule about what it meant to keep the Sabbath.
Don't look in a mirror on the Sabbath because you might want to pluck out a grey hair and that would be reaping.
If your candles were lit when the Sabbath came (the Sabbath began at sundown), you couldn't blow them out; and if they weren't lit in time, you couldn't light them either.
It was unlawful to wear jewelry on the Sabbath because it meant bearing a burden.
You couldn't wear false teeth on the Sabbath for the same reason.
You were allowed to eat radishes on the Sabbath, but you couldn't dip them into salt because you might leave them in the salt too long and pickle them and this was performing work.
It was fine to spit on a rock on the Sabbath, but you could not spit on the ground, because that made mud and mud was mortar, and that was work.
All this served to complicate their teaching. But Jesus got straight to the point. Such as in our passage for today. (READ TEXT)
Jesus' emphasized the Law’s purpose wasn't to make us perfect so we could get to heaven by good works, but to show how our hearts and our hands are unclean; and we have nothing to commend us before God.
1. Sin is universal - vs. 27-28
This text is directed toward men. Does that mean it's OK for women to commit adultery? No. Jesus addressed men because He was targeting the Scribes and Pharisees. They themselves superior to Jesus because:
A. They thought Jesus was the product of sexual sin.
"They said to him, 'We were not born of sexual immorality.'" - John 8:41 (ESV)
Not understanding the virgin birth of Jesus, they mistakenly thought He was conceived out of wedlock, the product of sexual immorality.
B. They thought Jesus was soft on sexual sin.
Jesus was accused by the Scribes and Pharisees of associating with sinners, including the sexually immoral.
"The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?" - Mark 2:16 (The Message)
From the Scribes' and Pharisees' point of view, they thought they had all the advantages. They hadn’t committed adultery. But Jesus reminded these Old Testament scholars of what God told Samuel: