I like the way Pastor Blaine talked about the Law last week. I can appreciate Pastor Blaine’s words about wanting to get rid of some of that Old Testament law, but that isn’t what Jesus says. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17.
So the next section in the sermon on the mount has some work for us.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment, and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council, and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
Do you see the statement Jesus just made? It is an interesting one. Jesus starts with the external law, ‘You shall not murder;” and then he takes it internal right away. “You’ve heard it said, don’t murder. But I want to talk about your anger.” Jesus moves immediately to the issue of the heart.
The law He’s dealing with here: “Do not murder”. This is probably one of the worst crimes you can commit. Jesus tells the crowd, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be, liable just like the murderer.
Is Jesus really comparing anger to murder? Seriously?
This can be a difficult concept for us to grasp. Most of us don’t really do long- term, deep friendships very well. We love our freedom and individualism so much that the necessary restrictions of deep meaningful friendships feel too constricting. So, for a lot of us, the “friendships” that we have are pretty surface-level and are therefore pretty easy to replicate with someone else. But that’s not what Jesus is inviting us to. Jesus is inviting us to be a community who are invested in the lives of others. Jesus knows that we need each other and are we willing and or able to handle difficult times and disagreements when they arise?
What does all of this have to do with anger?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
~ Pastor Dustin