Sermons

Summary: This is Part 10 in a 14-part series of studies I call “The Christian Character” as described by Jesus as he delivered what is familiarly known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” In this part we examine Jesus teachings about an eye for an eye, loving our neighbor, and being perfect.

Part 10 - Eye for eye, loving neighbor and hating enemy, being perfect

Sermon on the Mount

The Christian Character

Matthew 5:3 - 7:27

(Cf. Luke 6:20-49)

This is Part 10 in a 14-part series of studies I call “The Christian Character” as described by Jesus to a crowd of people on a Galilean hillside as he delivered what is more familiarly known as the “Sermon on the Mount.”

The 14 parts are as follows:

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Beatitudes – the poor in spirit

Part 3 - Beatitudes – those who mourn

Part 4 - Beatitudes – the meek, and those who hunger and thirst

Part 5 - Beatitudes – the merciful and the pure in heart

Part 6 - Beatitudes – peacemakers

Part 7 - Beatitudes – the persecuted and insulted

Part 8 - Salt of the earth and light of the world

Part 9 - Righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees; divorce, oaths

Part 10 - Eye for eye, loving neighbor and hating enemy, being perfect

Part 11 - Three things to do, not to be seen by men and a model prayer

Part 12 - Laying up treasures, eye is the lamp of the body, serving two masters

Part 13 - Do not judge, do not give what is holy to dogs and pigs

Part 14 - Ask, seek, and knock; the narrow gate; false prophets; building on the rock

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Quickly review last week’s class

In Matthew 5:21-37, Jesus is not re-teaching the old familiar things they had all known for a long time – some from the law and some not. He does not -as others do – teaching what was already known. Jesus was teaching another way of looking at those old commandments.

Clearly, Jesus’ purpose is not to teach the disciples and the crowd things they had already all learned, but to give them his own teaching ABOUT those things they had already been taught, some of it true and some of it false.

MURDER ---? RECONCILE

ADULTERY ---? ESCAPE

CERTIFICATE ---? ONE EXCEPTION

BREAKING OATH ---? INTEGRITY

In fact, the teaching from the law of Moses (Deut 24:1-4) about divorce did not say “let him give her a certificate of divorcement.” Moses had there only said, “IF A MAN does this sequence of actions, which included giving a divorced woman a certificate…” But to rivet our attention onto the certificate is to miss the point that the real teaching of Moses is that if a man divorces his wife and she marries another, HE MAY NEVER TAKE HER AGAIN AS HIS WIFE, FOR THAT IS AN ABOMINATION BEFORE THE LORD.

It is unfortunate that the very abomination Moses describes has often been prescribed by preachers, church leaders, and family member as the remedy for a complicated marital history.

Jesus does not make an attempt here to lay out a comprehensive teaching about divorce. He is simply speaking to something they had heard, and teaches them that there is a single circumstance in which remarriage does not result in adultery.

To sum up the teaching of Jesus about breaking oaths, I use the word “integrity,” which is derived from the English word “integer,” meaning a whole number, not a number with a fraction.

1 is an integer, 1.5 is not. 5 is an integer, 5.5 is not. The idea is that with regard to any oaths or vows we might take, we are a whole person – not a group of fractional parts.

As I have pointed out before, Jesus obviously didn’t bring those old sayings up so the people would know not to murder, commit adultery, how to document a divorce properly, or not break an oath. They already knew what had been said for centuries, although they had grossly distorted what Moses said about a divorce certificate (see Deuteronomy 24:1-4).

Jesus is illustrating the beatitudes, as he does throughout the sermon.

End of review

Part 10 - Eye for eye, loving neighbor and hating enemy, being perfect

AN EYE FOR AND EYE, AND TOOTH FOR A TOOTH

Jesus said “You have heard that…” read Matt 5:38-42

Yes. That was in the Torah, and they were no strangers to it.

Write RETRIBUTION/REMEDY

It was the law, written by Moses in the Torah several times – most broadly in Leviticus 24:17-20 – Read it.

In Numbers 35 the law provided for a procedure in the event someone accidental accidentally caused a death. Briefly, the one who accidentally killed another could flee to a “city of refuge,” pending a judgment. In the city of refuge, he was free from the avenger of blood, but if he left the city of refuge, the avenger could kill him. If the congregation judged him innocent of intentional murder, he could return to the city of refuge and remain in it until the death of the current high priest.

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