Summary: As we follow on the weekend of Valentine's Day, Jesus talks about what is attractive to Him, and what we should be attracted to. He shows us what sin is, so that we see who HE is.
2.16.20 Matthew 5
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ 28 but I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to fall into sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to fall into sin, cut it off and throw it away from you. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to be regarded as an adulteress. And whoever marries the divorced woman is regarded as an adulterer.
How Can I Be Attractive?
Our church recently installed LED bulbs to save hundreds of dollars every month in our electrical bills. They burn brighter and much more efficiently than the old bulbs. Many of us may feel like the old and worn out bulbs. How and why would God want to plug us in in order to shine His light into this world? Yet, by His grace, He does, and He wants US to be attractive. You don’t have to be young and new to do this.
One of the brightest ways you can let your light shine is through your relationships with others, especially with those you are dating and those you are married to. It’s kind of fitting that this is the focus of today right on the heels of Valentine’s Day. Are you loving and kind or are you short tempered and mean to your spouse and children? Are you being faithful and trustworthy? Who would want to go to your church if they heard you being abusive or mean?
The Pharisees wanted to be impressive in the eyes of the world. So they expounded on the law in order to make it manageable and doable in everyday situations. They came up with a system of do’s and don’ts for everyday living - like how far you could walk and what kind of clothes you could wear and how you could dress your hair if you wanted to be a good and law abiding Jew. They thought this would be attractive to the world. One might say it seemed to be very “practical.”
What did the Jews of Jesus’ day teach about marriage? Deuteronomy 24:1 said that a man could divorce a woman if he “finds something indecent about her.” The Mishnah, a Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament, spoke of two different schools of thought behind divorce.
The School of Shammai says a man should not divorce his wife unless he has found her guilty of some immoral behavior. The School of Hillel, however, says that a man may divorce his wife even if she has merely ruined his food. Gittin 9:10
Jesus concurred with the School of Shammai that adultery was an acceptable reason for divorce, but not the trivial reasons that Hillel had said. Jesus then proceeded to take the argument far deeper than previous Rabbis had ever thought. “You have heard . . . but I tell you.” He went far deeper than a spreadsheet of “do’s” and “don’ts.” He looked into motive and thought - not just action. He didn’t make the law doable, He ended up making it damnable in a sense.
Jesus said, I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Now this is a difficult one. Even when you’re watching a seemingly normal television show, how often is it that somewhat graphic sex scenes come on with no warning. But what is the initial reaction? Look more closely or look away in shame? Jesus doesn’t excuse it or call it “art”. He calls that “committing adultery” in the heart.
How serious of a sin is this? “If your right eye causes you to fall into sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to fall into sin, cut it off and throw it away from you. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Some look at hell as a conscientious decision that people make as a result of rejecting God. But here Jesus paints it as if people are “thrown” into hell. They don’t want to go there, but they don’t have any choice.) This is what will happen to those who sin with their eyes or their hands.