Summary: Taking the Leap to something higher will require embracing the hard sayings of Jesus.

More than Murder

June 30, 2013


This is an interesting week in national news.

June 24, 2013 Paula Deen's Food Network career is toast after the network announced Friday that it would not be renewing the popular shows "Paula's Best Dishes" and "Paula's Home Cooking" after her contract expires at the end of June. Deen acknowledged in her deposition to sometimes telling jokes including racial slurs and seemed to struggle when asked if she considered jokes using the N-word to be "mean.''

June 26, 2013 Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been arrested and taken into custody by police, who are investigating the homicide of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was found shot execution-style about a half-mile from Hernandez's home.

If Jesus were here today, preaching to us themes form the Sermon on the Mount, he might likely group those two stories into the same message--a hard message about hard truths, hard sayings.

Like his original hearers many people today find Jesus' sayings hard. Some sayings are hard because they are difficult to understand. Others are difficult because the demands they make on us are only too clear. There are over seventy "hard sayings" that Jesus made.

P. S. Taking the Leap to something higher this summer will require embracing the hard sayings of Jesus.

A number of those sayings are found in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. For the next three weeks we will be examining three such "Hard Sayings."

Matt 5:21-22

21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.


ILL: Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author in the 19th c. He noted that when it came to some of the hard sayings of Jesus people tended to look at them in a dismissive way.

"Most people really believe that the Christian commandments (for example, to love one's neighbor as oneself) are intentionally a little too severe--like putting the clock ahead half an hour to make sure of not being late in the morning."

Did Jesus really mean this????? Or do we just read this and nod uh huh.

T.S. We need to break this passage down so there can be no doubt what Jesus is saying.

I. Anger--a layer issued

A. Inner issue

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.

1. Definition

Orgizo  -- root word

Provoked, exasperated, angry (inner issue of anger)

2. Condemnable

Jesus said it's subject to judgment (social people would rightly judge your attitude and actions as wrong)

B. Expressive issue

Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin.

Anger breaking forth in scornful words!!!

1. Definition

Raca -- A term of reproach used by the Jews of our Savior's time, meaning "worthless." Aramaic term of contempt and abuse 'empty one'. It is derived from a root meaning "to spit." (to spit out)

2. Expressions

* an expression of open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation

* an expression of contempt or derision

* an expression of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision

3. Condemnable -- by civil law

In the time of Christ the Great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem enjoyed a very high measure of independence. It exercised not only civil jurisdiction, according to Jewish law, but also, in some degree, criminal. It had administrative authority and could order arrests by its own officers of justice. It was empowered to judge cases which did not involve capital punishment, which latter required the confirmation of the Roman procurator.

C. Aggressive Issue

But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

1. Definition

To call someone a fool in anger was is the equivalent of (moron, idiot, . . . @#$*_)

Anger culminating in abusive and defamatory language (fool), to be punished by the fire of Gehenna.

(Paula Dean)

2. Condemnable by God

Divine accountability

What is beyond dispute is that Christ condemns the use of disparaging and insulting epithets as a supreme offense against the law of humanity, he places it in the same category as murder itself.

II. So what?

A. We need to take anger seriously (stop excusing it).

ILL: Anger seems to be epidemic these days.... Dr. Emil Coccaro, a researcher and professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago Hospitals, has been studying anger for several decades. He says that many hotheads suffer from Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Dr. Coccaro is championing a new drug called Depakote, introduced by Abbott Laboratories in 1995. Interestingly, an effort to find volunteers with volatile tempers for the clinical studies has been unproductive. Apparently, few people see their anger as a problem.

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