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 third post.

 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matt. 5:33-37 NIV)

Vv33-37 deal with the issue of oaths. There were strict rules about making (and breaking) oaths in Jesus day. We catch a glimpse of them in vv34-36. Oaths made by different artefacts were arranged in a hierarchical order and so some could be broken more easily than others.

Now that the Law of Christ is here, Jesus makes plain that his disciples are simply to be people of their word. If they “yes” to something, they must follow through. And if they say “no” to something, stick to it.

  • How trustworthy is your word? Do you follow through with the things you say you will do? Do people have to ask and pester you to get things done?
  • vv34-36 make clear that God sees and hears our words and expects us to keep them. How does this make you think and how you respond to things asked of you?
  • How does following Jesus statement make for distinctive disciples? How are vv33-37 different from the world’s way of doing things?