Matthew 5:21-48 - overview
The Pharisees righteousness
was based on their legal fulfillment of their obligations.
It would be like us:
- making a house payment at the start of every month and
calling ourselves a good home owner.
- going to work because our contract required that
we show up 185 times a year and saying we were a good employee
- sharing a house and food with a spouse and
calling ourselves a good husband or a loving wife
- providing children with a room, a couple of
meals and an education and calling ourselves a good parent
- joining a church and showing up on Sunday
mornings for service and calling ourselves a good Christian
In all of these the legal
obligations were met but much, much more is expected if we are to be considered
good or righteous as a home owner, an employee, a husband, a father or a
Jesus addresses six topics
that the Pharisees were meeting their legal obligation under the Law of Moses:
- Eye for Eye]
- Enemies and Neighbors
But, in each of these cases
the Pharisees were far from being righteous or as Jesus said,
"Perfect" in Matthew 5:48. The Pharisees were legally avoiding
criminal activity, but God wants more than us to "not be criminal."
He wants us to be like him.
5:21 - Jesus is not setting the
Jot and Tittle aside. Jesus is not abolishing the law
and the prophets. Jesus is fulfilling them
1 Timothy 1:8-11
"It is said" -
- a rare passive form of the verb "errethe"
- "errethe" is
used in the NT for quotes of Scripture
- it refers to divine revelation, not to human
teaching or tradition
This is supported by the
phrase - "to the people long ago" -
- literally it means "the ancients"
- the "people of old" is not referring
to contemporary ideas or teaching
- it is referring to the people of old who heard
the Law of Moses taught by Moses
All of the six categories
are taught in the Pentateuch, but Jesus is going to fulfill or bring light to
- Murder - a straight quote from the Ten
Commandments with an added principal from the Pentateuch. The 6th Commandment.
- Adultery - straight quote of the 7th Commandment
from Exodus 20:14
- Divorce - this quote or paraphrase is
significantly different and is angled in a different direction than Deut
- Oaths - Summarizes the Pentateuch guidelines concerning
oaths from Numbers 30:2 and Deuteronomy 23:21
- Eye for Eye - Exact quote of the text, but it
appears from Jesus' discussion that it is being quoted for a different
purpose than the OT text suggests. Found in Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20;
- Enemies/Neighbors - This subject has been
twisted to add an unintended negative spin. This verse has completely been
mangled by the Jewish lawyers and their judicial court system. (sound like anything we see in the US
courts?) Lev. 19:18
Jesus addresses the legal
issues developed from these verses from the OT.
They had developed into
distorted applications and the focus was on fulfilling a legal obligation
Jesus is not correcting the Word of God, but correcting the current
misunderstanding and application
Isaiah 55:9 - God's ways and
thoughts are beyond us. This is why we often mis-apply
or can not understand the revelation from God in his word.
1 Timothy 1:8-11