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In this section, Jesus shows the true meaning of the law. Mat Jesus interprets the law against murder. You have heard it said : These people had not really studied the Law of Moses for themselves. All they had was the teaching on the law from the scribes and Pharisees. And if it is not true, its antiquity is no credit to it.

But I say to you : Jesus shows His authority, and does not rely on the words of previous scribes or teachers. He will teach them the true understanding of the Law of Moses. Who but a divine being has authority to speak in this fashion? His word is law. So it ought to be, seeing he touches vice at the fountain- head, and forbids uncleanness in the heart. Yet they also taught that anything short or murder might be allowed. Jesus corrects this, and makes it clear that it is not only those who commit the act of murder who are in danger of judgment, those who have a murderous intent in the heart are also in danger of the judgment.

To them, the law was really only a matter of external performance , never the heart. Jesus brings the law back to the matters of the heart. We should emphasize that Jesus is not saying that anger is as bad as murder. It is profoundly morally confused to think that someone who shouts at another person in anger has sinned as badly as someone who murders another person in anger. Jesus emphasized that the law condemns both , without saying that the law says they are the same things.

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Their absence does not itself prove there is no exception. Calling someone a fool showed contempt for their character. Either one broke the heart of the law against murder, even if it did not commit murder. Its whole accent is the accent of contempt …It is the word of one who despises another with an arrogant contempt.

They are the strong utterance of one in whom all forms of inhumanity roused feelings of passionate abhorrence. They are of the utmost value as a revelation of character. Mat More on problem personal relationships. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way : Jesus considers it far more important to be reconciled to a brother than to perform a religious duty. Jesus says we must first be reconciled to your brother. We should do what Paul commanded in Romans : If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

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Agree with your adversary quickly : Jesus commands us to quickly settle anger and malice with another. When we ignore it or pass it off, it genuinely imprisons us and you be thrown into prison. Paul expresses the same idea in Ephesians do not let the sun go down on your wrath.

When we hold on to our anger against another, we then sin — and we give place to the devil. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny : Jesus here spoke with figures of speech. The ultimate penalty one pays at the hands of the judge , the officer , and in the prison could never be satisfied with money the last penny. Yet the reality suggested by these strong figures of speech reminds us that the suffering of eternity is indeed eternal.


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Mat Jesus interprets the law against adultery. You have heard that it was said to those of old : Now, Jesus deals with what they had heard regarding the law of adultery. Of course, the teachers of the day taught that adultery itself was wrong. But they applied the law only to the actions, not to the heart.

Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart : Jesus explains that it is possible to commit adultery or murder in our heart — or mind, and this also is sin and prohibited by the command against adultery. This is true according to Biblical statement such as Job and life-experience. However, it is important to understand that Jesus is not saying that the act of adultery and adultery in the heart are the same thing.

Some people only keep from adultery because they are afraid to get caught, and in their heart they commit adultery every day. It is good that they keep from the act of adultery, but it is bad that their heart is filled with adultery. This principle applies to much more than men looking at women. It applies to just about anything we can covet with the eye or mind. Adultery…in his heart : Since Jesus considers adultery in the heart a sin, we know what we think about and allow our heart to rest on is based on choice.

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Many believe they have no choice — and therefore no responsibility — for what they think about, but this contradicts the clear teaching of Jesus here. We may not be able to control passing thoughts or feelings, but we certainly do decide where our heart and mind will rest. All sin, not the least sexual sin, begins with the imagination. Therefore what feeds the imagination is of maximum importance in the pursuit of kingdom righteousness. It is also important to distinguish between temptation to sin and sin itself.

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Jesus, though tempted in all ways Hebrews , endured such temptations but did not yield to such sin. He was able to see women as other than objects for His gratification. Mat Our attitude in the war against sin.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out : Here Jesus uses a figure of speech, and did not speak literally. Sadly, some have taken it so and have mutilated themselves in mistaken efforts in the pursuit of holiness. For example, the famous early Christian named Origen castrated himself on the principle of this passage.

The trouble with a literal interpretation is that it does not go far enough! Even if you did cut off your hand or gouge out your eye, you could still sin with your other hand or eye. When all those are gone, you can especially sin with your mind. It is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell : Jesus simply stressed the point that one must be willing to sacrifice to be obedient. This is the one thing many are unwilling to do, and that is why they remain trapped in sin, or never come to Jesus.

They never get beyond a vague wish to be better. Mat Jesus interprets the law concerning divorce. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. Some rabbis taught this even extended to allowing a man to divorce his wife if she burnt his breakfast.