Summary: The Pharisees had added their own interpretations to the law. Tradition was also becoming law. Jesus teaches the original intended meaning of 7 major laws of the time.
1. Jesus Fulfillment of the Law
v.17-20 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law…but to fulfill…”
- The Pharisees thought that Jesus was trying to abolish the law because He freely disregarded the Pharisaic traditions.
- Although they thought that Jesus was destroying the law, they were robbing the people of God with their traditions and their own interpretations.
- They began to regard tradition as law and Jesus wanted to show the law for what it really is.
- Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law by fighting it; He destroyed the law by fulfilling it.
- Acorn Illustration. I can destroy an acorn by putting it on a rock and crushing it or I can destroy the acorn by planting it and let it fulfill itself by becoming an oak tree.
2. Murder / Anger
v.21-26 “You shall not commit murder…but I say to you that everyone who is angry is guilty…”
- God is concerned with the heart, not just our actions.
- Leave your offering at the alter and be reconciled to your brother.
- God is not interested in our offering when we have anger in our hearts / someone has anger against us.
- We must be peacemakers and try to reconcile our difference before offering God our praise and worship.
3. Adultery / Lust
v.27-30 “You shall not commit adultery, but I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in their heart.”
- When Jesus says, “looks,” He is not talking about a casual glance at the opposite sex.
- The original language expresses more of a “constant stare with the purpose of lusting.”
- The man Jesus is describing looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sexual appetite as a substitute for the act.
- I believe that the reason Jesus used the hand and the eye as examples is because these are the most likely the culprits when it comes to sexual sins.
- How do I avoid adultery?
- The best way to avoid adultery is to fight lust.
- Ask yourself -
- What are the triggers for lust?
- What are the unsafe situations and activities in my life?
- Who are the unsafe people in my life?
- We may have to give up “good things” that have become dangerous to us.
v.31-32 “…except for the reason of unchastity…”
- Proneia = Fornication (unchastity) / Moicheia = Adultery
5. Vows & Oaths / Simple Reliability
v.33-37 “…You shall not make false vows…But I say to you, “Make no oath at all…”
- Our conversations should be so honest, and our character so true, that we would not need an oath to get people to believe us.
- Words depend on Character, and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character.
- The more words someone uses to convince us the more we should be suspicious.
- Jesus’ whole sermon is based on personal life; it does not rule out civil or official oaths.
6. Vengeance / Grace
v.38-42 “…Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also…”
- The picture here is someone who is willing to suffer.
- The key is our attitude. Be the kind of person whose spiritual rights are given to God.
- Ask yourself, “What am I defending; my pride or God’s appointed responsibilities?”
- Revenge and punishment belong to God and His appointed authorities.
7. Hate / Love
v.43-48 “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”
- A neighbor is anyone with a need that you can meet (Luke 10:30-37).
- When we pray for our enemies, we find it easier to love them. It takes the poison out of the attitude.