Bible Blog

Wisdom? Weapon? Word? It depends on how we read the scriptures.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Matthew 5:17-37

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, "If you are bringing your offering to the altar and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your offering before the altar, go and be reconciled with them, and then return and present your offering."

The gospel of Matthew presents a summary of the teaching of Jesus in what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount. In verse 17 of chapter 5 Jesus says, "Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete." If we have read the letters of Paul, we will realize that this doesn't sound much like the gospel Paul preached. "Truly I tell you," Jesus adds in the gospel of Matthew, "so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a dot, will disappear from the law until all that must happen has happened." (Mt. 5:18)

Because the examples given in the Sermon on the Mount concern moral laws, the statement in verse 18 is not taken literally by Christians to include all Jewish law. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus emphasizes the relationships among his followers. Keeping the law and the prophets mean living holy and loving lives. This is why asking forgiveness from those we have offended is our highest obligation and the core of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples (Mt. 6:9-13).

Grace and peace...Bob