Tuesday 20 August 2013

Matthew 5:21-48 - Sin and love

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After beginning to teach the disciples on the mountainside in a general way, now Jesus gets much more specific in Matthew 5:21-48, dealing with anger, lust, divorce, swearing, retaliation and love.

Teaching, at which Jesus excelled (as he did in all things), is an essential component of church life. When we teach we have a great responsibility, but teach we must if we are to follow Jesus. He said that we were to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to do everything that he taught us to do.

So study Jesus' teachings in this passage and learn from him. He is the Master.

He shows that the Old Testament teaching on each topic is to be respected but that in all ways we must go further. Our anger is as bad as murder. A lustful glance is as bad as adultery. Divorce is more serious than handing out a note of dismissal. All swearing is evil. We are not to resist an evil person. And we are to love everyone, not just those who are like us.

Read through this passage carefully. How does your own life match up against these exacting standards Jesus is setting?

And when you teach, do it like Jesus did. Teach from a humble heart, pray for wisdom and love and mercy, demand more than people expect. Expect the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you.

Teaching is not necessarily a matter of standing in front of a bunch of students; that was not Jesus' way. Rather, it's a matter of living alongside others and injecting observations and questions into the conversations that you have. This very practical kind of teaching bears useful fruit that will last.

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