Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
My heart was in my stomach. I was never going to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Jesus had just said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Pharisees obeyed every single law to the letter! People have a deep respect for them because of that piety. I notice the Pharisees among us sit up a little straighter at those words.
Jesus continues, citing one of the 10 Commandments that God gave Moses on Sinai.
“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.’”
He was going deeper. Teachers say, ‘you heard it was said’ right before teaching a deeper meaning. Jesus was going beyond the letter of the law to reveal the spirit of the law.
“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,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
If anyone even has an urge to kill anyone, it reveals a heart bent towards murder. Even the Pharisees are toast. I saw a few slump as they realized that they don’t qualify either.
Is forgiveness in order?
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
It was important enough to leave the temple and make things right. Wow…
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Apparently, it is important to settle things before they went out of control in other ways. Rather than letting it blow up in anger, it is better to forgive and try to reconcile.
That means for me I may either be the one needing to seek forgiveness and reconciliation and or be the one to give it.