1. Today we will consider the first of "Six Antitheses" to pharisaical understandings of certain deuteronomical laws presented by Jesus during what is called the Sermon on the Mount. The subject is the Sixth Commandment.
2. Each of the six sections in Matthew 5:21-48 is set apart by Christ's unique introduction to each topic: "You have heard it said.....but I say unto you...".
a. At the close of Matthew's record of Christ's teaching on the mountain, he states: And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. ( Matthew 7:28-29 )
The authority of Christ as "Lord of Scripture" is asserted purposefully whenever He adds "...but I say unto you...." to an established teaching or known truth.
b. Note that Matthew informs us in Matthew 7:29 Jesus' teaching style was unlike that of the scribes (or the later rabbis), who always taught from tradition or the scholarship of others. Jesus -- the L __ __ __ __ __ W __ __ __ who came to f __ __ __ __ __ __ the law -- taught directly from Scripture with His own authority. The teaching of Christ as recorded in the Gospels encompasses three great themes:
(1) the k __ __ __ __ __ __ of God ( a.k.a. the "kingdom of heaven" ) which had been first announced by J __ __ __ the Baptizer and to which Jesus persistently called all believers;
(2) the presentation of Himself as the promised M __ __ __ __ __ __ and the declaration of the sacrificial work of s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ which He had been sent by God the Father to accomplish; and
(3) m __ __ __ __ and ethical instruction to those who have entered the kingdom of God by f __ __ __ __. It is this third category within which Matthew 5:21-48 falls.
B. TEXT: Matthew 5:21-26 [ NKJV ]
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny."
1. KEY TERMS
a. 'You shall not murder...' ( v.21 )
(1) Jesus quotes from the deuteronomical law (see Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17). "Murder" here appears as "kill" in the KJV, and most of us remember the Sixth Commandment as: "Thou shalt not kill." But "kill" in the law never means simply "the taking of a life." It always means what we call "homocide" -- the intentional taking of a life for personal reasons.
(2) Some well-meaning Christians use the Sixth Commandment as the basis for arguments against capital punishment. As it is stated in the original language, that commandment does not suggest this. In fact, God Himself ordained and established capital punishment as part of His "new world order" after the Flood. This is recorded in Genesis 9:1-6, a passage to which dispensationalist scholars point as marking the beginning of the "Dispensation of Human Government."
(3) Jesus did not "overrule" the law of Moses regarding murder, which:
- f __ __ __ __ __ __ the taking of human life by murder, and
- dictated that murderers be brought to j __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
Jesus, in the verses immediately preceding our text passage, declared plainly that He had not come to a __ __ __ __ __ __ the law, but to f __ __ __ __ __ __ it.
b. angry ( v.22 )
(1) According to Jesus, one has not comformed to the "better righteousness" of the kingdom simply by refraining from homocide. The angry person, too, will be subject to judgment (Greek "krisis") -- the judgment of God.
(2) Anger, according to our Lord, is the r __ __ __ of murder; anger in murderous in p __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. So Jesus declares that one who is angry with another is made liable for the same judicial scrutiny as one who is guilty of murder!