Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tuesday - Matthew 5 - The Master Speaks

ATTHEW 5 may not be the apex of the entire Bible, but is is the apex of all the Scriptures that we have studied from Genesis up to Matthew 5. It is apparent from chapters 1-4 that Jesus is the One to whom all previous prophecies have ultimately pointed. Now we find His first recorded sermon. And, the substance of His "Sermon on the Mount" is quite heavy.

Notably, there is an unmistakable optimism & tone of hope here. Jesus did not open His mouth & say, "Cursed are the proud, for they will inhabit hell!"  He could have started out that way.  That is a fair implication from Matthew 5:3.  It is surely taught elsewhere in the Bible. But Jesus didn't come to condemn the world. He came to save us! So, there are many positive statements in this sermon. What marvelous encouragement it is to read these words, realizing they were spoken by our incarnate God. Surely the hope of nations had arrived & was speaking peace on the mountain on that day.

But wait! Another thing to notice here is the impossibility of the expectations of Jehovah. Who can live by the standards and conditions that Jesus declared? Clearly Jesus wasn't burning the rulebook. He was publishing a commentary that reiterated, clarified & intensified it.  Why?  1. The law was originally intended to portray God's holiness loudly, & thereby to convince men of their desperate need for God's grace & mercy. 2. More can be expected of servants when their Master is present to guide every subtle movement. Christ came to not only keep the law for us but also to enable us to live in the very spirit of that law.

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