Summary: The King begins to explain the new rules that govern God’s Kingdom.

The Laws of the Kingdom Pt.2

It’s the Thought that Counts

Matthew 5:17-48

May 14th, 2006

Well, the King has returned and He is beginning to make His presence known to the people. We looked at the genealogy of this king, the royal and divine bloodline. We looked at the Herald of the King, the ministry of John the Baptist who came to prepare the people for the arrival of the King by preaching a message of repentance; Turning away from your sins and back to God. Last week, Jesus began to lay out the expectations and Laws for the Kingdom that He had come to establish. We’re going to pick up this morning where we left off last week with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He begins His sermon with a list of what the King expects from His people. This Kingdom of Heaven is going to be different and the people who are a part of it are to be different as well. We looked at the eight step process that needs to take place in the life of a Christian, the Beatitudes, the life that God will bless and reward and draw into a deeper relationship with Him.

I was thinking this week about what it must have been like to be there for this sermon that Jesus is giving. What it must have been like to sit there among the people and hear this man speak, this man that spoke with a passion and an authority that no one had ever heard before. To sit on the mountainside and listen as everything you had ever known, everything that you had ever been taught is finding fulfillment right before your eyes. The people are beginning to suspect that there is more to this man Jesus than meets the eye. He has His group of disciples picked out and more and more people are beginning to follow Him as they witness the power that He has. They watch Him heal and drive out demons and teach. They watch how He listens and interacts with the people on a personal and loving basis. The people are beginning to get an idea that this may be the king that they’ve been waiting for.

There is a buzz among the people that if this is the Messiah, then he has come to do away with the law. He has come to free His people from the restraints of the old and outdated laws and to usher them into a time of complete freedom. See, the Jewish system of law was brutal. The sacrificial system was demanding and hard to keep up with and the laws were all but impossible to practically live out on a daily basis.

I remember when I was young, my cousin had a book of dumb laws. These were laws that were still on the books in the US that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, they were written for a certain time and era but over the years they lost their significance and are no longer enforced. I looked online and found that in this state there are some very interesting laws on the books:

Citizens may not greet each other by "putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers".

A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting.

It is against the law to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun.

The penalty for jumping off a building is death.

A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket. Slippers are not to be worn after 10:00 AM

A man can’t go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match.

Probably the worst law I found was from the great state that we just moved from, Ohio. In Ohio, it’s illegal to fish for whales on Sunday. Now, I’m no expert but don’t whales live in the Ocean?

We’ve got some pretty silly laws in this state and in this country. These are laws that are no longer meant to be applied and are no longer enforced and we can just ignore them without worrying if there is going to be a penalty or if we’ll suffer the consequences for our disobedience. The Jews of that day didn’t have that luxury of ignoring a law that they felt was outdated. What the Pharisees had done was to take the perfect law that was handed down by God to Moses for His people, and they had expanded it to a complicated web of petty and burdensome rules that kept the people in line through the guilt of failing at an impossible task. So, you’ve got to think that the folks listening to Jesus were hoping for a replacement for the stringent Law that had become even more difficult to keep under the unbearable traditions of these Pharisees. I’m sure the people had some great expectations. Maybe Jesus was the answer, maybe He would declare the law to no longer be valid. But they were in for a disappointment if that was their thinking.

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