On Sundays 14th and 21st May, our sermons will deal with two of the major themes that run through Matthew 5:17-48. As we’re tackling this large section on just two sermons, we won’t deal in detail with every paragraph. Therefore, to attempt to cover at least some of the gaps, there are/will be give short blog posts that will make a few comments on each passage and provide some questions for application. This is the first post.

 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matt. 5:21-26 NIV)

v21 summarises Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17. Jesus makes additional mention of being “subject to judgement.” In the Old Testament, murder was expressly forbidden.

5:17-20 explain how the Old Testament has been fulfilled and accomplished in the coming of Christ. Jesus then no longer upholds the OT, because it has served its purpose. Rather, Jesus now instates for his disciples “the law of Christ” (cf. Gal 6:2). So in v22 Jesus shows how the principle of the OT law is to be worked out for his followers. It’s not about not murdering anyone – it’s about not being angry, not having contempt, not even insulting one another.

vv23-26 show that harmony and unity are Jesus primary concerns. There is not be no sign of a festering hatred between Christians. Differences and falling out must be dealt with quickly.

  • Is there anyone with whom you are angry? Maybe it’s a recent thing? Or perhaps its been going on for years.
  • How will you deal with situations when another Christian hurts, upsets or offends you?
  • How does following Jesus statement make for distinctive disciples? How are vv21-26 different from the world’s way of doing things?