CHRIST AND THE LAW IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Lesson 4 for April 26, 2014
Jesus talked about the law in the Sermon on the Mount. There is a whole section on this (Mathew 5:17-48) The importance of the law (Mt. 5:17-20) Murder and anger (Mt. 5:21-26) Adultery and divorce (Mt. 5:27-32) Oaths (Mt. 5:33-37) Reprisals and loving your enemies (Mt. 5:38-48)
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LAW “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) What did Jesus mean with “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:19)? Tittle => e.g. the dot above “shin” Jot => yod He who gave Israel the Law also reaffirmed it. He stated that the Commandments in Sinai are still current for His followers. If someone tried to repeal them, he would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
MURDER AND ANGER “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] 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.” (Matthew 5:22) Why did Jesus say that getting angry is equivalent to kill someone? (see Leviticus 19:17) “The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and it led him to put to death the Son of God. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit, and its fruit will be unto death.” E.G.W. (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, cp. 3, pg. 51) Is anger incompatible with worshipping God? (see Matthew 5:23-24)
ADULTERY AND DIVORCE “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) What’s the difference between a sinful thought and the act of sinning? How can we understand this sentence, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you” (Mt. 5:29)? Jesus advised us to do whatever we need to do in order to stop that sinful tendency if we want to enter the Kingdom. E.g. finding a different route to work, or ending a sinful relationship. The eternal gain exceeds the temporary passion.
OATHS “But I say to you, do not swear at all… But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:34 fp, 37) What’s the connection between “you shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another” and “you shall not swear by My name falsely” (Leviticus 19:11-12)? What does this sentence mean, “For whatever is more than these is from the evil one”? “A glance, a word, even an intonation of the voice, may be vital with falsehood. Even facts may be so stated as to convey a false impression. And “whatsoever is more than” truth, “is of the evil one.”” YOU SHALL NOT LIE E.G.W. (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, cp. 3, pg. 68)
“The Jews understood the third commandment as prohibiting the profane use of the name of God; but they thought themselves at liberty to employ other oaths. Oath taking was common among them. Through Moses they had been forbidden to swear falsely, but they had many devices for freeing themselves from the obligation imposed by an oath. They did not fear to indulge in what was really profanity, nor did they shrink from perjury so long as it was veiled by some technical evasion of the law. Jesus condemned their practices, declaring that their custom in oath taking was a transgression of the commandment of God. Our Saviour did not, however, forbid the use of the judicial oath, in which God is solemnly called to witness that what is said is truth and nothing but the truth. Jesus Himself, at His trial before the Sanhedrin, did not refuse to testify under oath.” E.G.W. (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, cp. 3, pg. 66)
REPRISALS AND LOVING YOUR ENEMIES “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matthew 5:39) Jesus does not contradict himself. Why did He told Moses that we should retaliate (“Eye for eye” Ex. 21:24) and then He told us that we should turn the other cheek? Are you fulfilling what Jesus ordered in Matthew 5:39-44?
“The Jews had been wearily toiling to reach perfection by their own efforts, and they had failed. Christ had already told them that their righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now He points out to them the character of the righteousness that all who enter heaven will possess. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount He describes its fruits, and now in one sentence He points out its source and its nature: Be perfect as God is perfect. The law is but a transcript of the character of God. Behold in your heavenly Father a perfect manifestation of the principles which are the foundation of His government.” E.G.W. (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, cp. 3, pg. 77)