“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8. He has always wanted us back.
27 When he [the Father] prepared the heavens, I [Jesus Christ] was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I [Jesus Christ] was the craftsman by his side day after day, and I [Jesus Christ] was filled with delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. Proverbs 8:27-31 (compiled from several versions)
So, when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago…” we know that He was the One who said it. He knew what He meant; He needed no one to interpret for Him. Jesus came to explain the Law and then fulfill it. Read on!
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ [an Aramaic term of contempt] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ [an even worse term of contempt] will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:21-22
Jesus was, of course, talking about the Israelites at Mount Sinai when the 10 Commandments were given. I think He phrased it that way so that the people were forced to remember what they knew about the event. It brought from the subconscious to the conscious more than what would have been thought of if He had simply said, “When God gave the 10 Commandments, He said…” Jesus immediately set the record straight that it was not just about the actual act of murder, but also about the thoughts and intents of the heart. If we want to be like God, then we must think like Him. Since only the Spirit knows the mind of the Lord (1 Cor. 2:11), then we need the Spirit with us and in us. Hence, the cross, resurrection, and Pentecost.
“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. Matthew 5:23-24
Jesus then gives an example of a good time to forgive: Before coming before the Father with an offering. He was still talking to Jews who bought sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem. What Jesus was asking was BIG. Consider that you are from Nazareth and are in Jerusalem about to offer your annual sheep at the temple and the Lord brings to mind a fellow Jew who thinks you cheated him. Jesus is saying that you should leave your sheep with someone in Jerusalem and make the trek back home (70 miles), reconcile to that person, and then return and give your offering. Jesus was saying that reconciliation was a more proper sacrifice to God than the sheep. He would know.
Verses 25 and 26 we will save for tomorrow. Good stuff there.
Abba, may we take our offering as seriously as Jesus wants us to take it. May we not only forgive those who do us wrong, but be reconciled with them (if they are willing); the first is a heart issue while the second is a fellowship issue. Thank You, Jesus, for setting the record straight. We want to be like You because that makes us like our heavenly Father. Give us more, Lord. Amen.