Summary: Jesus took passages from Leviticus, taught them, and repackaged them so that His disciples can live out the principles behind them.
Midrashim Leviticus on the Mount
1. We have an expression for conniving, called "fudging." Webster defines fudging as,
"… to exceed the proper bounds or limits of something." I announced this series as Deuteronomy: Jesus Favorite Book. But, just like the Viet Nam War got into Cambodia and Laos a little bit, so I am invading neighboring territory today. Go easy on me.
2. Everybody fudges sometimes. Our ladies in the Ladies’ Bible study are wondering, "Am we going to have a repeat of Pastor Ed when we do the study by John Stott?" Relax. This will be my last plunge into the SOM. We will move on to other teachings of Jesus based on Deuteronomy next week.
3. Some people compare the Sermon on the Mount to the time God gave the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai; it seems obvious that the two events are parallel.
4. Yet not the same. At Mt. Sinai, God dictated the Law and Moses wrote it down; in the case of the SOM, Jesus is mostly interpreting and applying the Law, distilling its principles through the use of a Jewish sermon style called Midrash; hundreds of other rabbis were seeking to do the same thing, but Jesus stood out.
5. 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
6. "To fulfill" is a Jewish idiom, meaning to properly interpret and apply.
7. So he did not replace the Law, but He properly interpreted and applied it. He did so with an eloquence and an authority that caused others to marvel.
8. We only have a small portion of the SOM, highlight summaries; by postulating the source Jesus starts with, we can deepen our understanding of what he is teaching.
Main Idea: Jesus took passages from Leviticus, taught them, and repackaged them so that His disciples can live out the principles behind them.
A. CONSISTENT Judgment: No Double Standards
The ancient rabbis warned about both favoring the poor out of sympathy and the rich out of potential benefits (Torat Kohanim, the Sifra). Solomon says, "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both." Prov. 17:15
B. FAIR Judgment
Being fair sometimes means believing everyone does what they do for a reason, and figuring out that reason. Being fair means weighing matters from both perspectives, or bringing in someone neutral to offer less-biased direction. It means being more concerned about what is right than getting your way.
• the way the human brain works (emotion)
C. Avoiding DESTRUCTIVE attitudes
1. In Leviticus: don’t spread SLANDER
2. In Mathew, Jesus constructs a fence: Don’t be CRITICAL
• by being humble and being stricter about your own conduct than you are about the conduct of others
• Jesus uses hyperbole: log vs. splinter
• When someone who is living wrong says, "Don’t judge me," he is being silly; God has already judged and passed the verdict of "wrong and guilty."
• Our goal is not to police lost people. Listen to Paul’s words in I Cor. 5:12-13a, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."
• The point is that the standards we use to judge others are the standards by which we will be judged; if we are stricter than God, God will judge us by the stricter standard.
• The issue here is not eternal life; that judgment is a separate issue.
3. Fence: Avoiding judging when UNNECESSARY
• Jesus here is not talking about discernment (I Cor. 2:15), but developing a habit of criticism…we are not talking about clearcut Scriptural/moral issues
• Some people think is is cool to criticize…
• It begins with the school cafeteria (Joe and the maggot)
• Some people think being critical is being "cool."
A. Do Not HATE in the heart
1. Tractate Yoma, Chapter 2 (aka, 23a), "What is called revenge, and what is called bearing a grudge? Revenge is such a case: When one comes to the other, and asks him to lend a sickle to him, he says: Nay. On the morrow, the second comes to the first, and wants to borrow an axe. He answers: I do not wish to lend to you, as you have not lent to me. This is called revenge. What is bearing a grudge? When one comes to another, and asks him to loan him an axe, and does not get it. On the morrow the second comes to the first, and wants to borrow a shirt. He answers: I lend it to you, because I am not like you, who did not want to lend me yesterday. This is called bearing a grudge."