Friday, April 26, 2019
I love Matthew 5. The whole chapter is a setup. It starts out in a very meek way and leads up to a crescendo, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect’ (v. 48). So to start with, Jesus tells us we are to be humble, mourn over sin (see sin as God sees it), crave righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, and lead others to Christ – all in the first nine verses!
But then He starts to hit even harder, increasingly mentioning goals and suggestions that seemingly are harder and harder to imagine ourselves doing, or saying things that inevitably condemn us of adultery and murder.
Jesus also basically tells us it’s not our actions, but what’s in our heart that matters. Ouch! He tells us if our eye or hand causes us to stumble, get rid of it. Did He mean this for real? We are to turn the other cheek when someone slaps us and let anyone borrow from us who wants something from us.
The bottom line, according to Jesus, is that we are to be perfect just like God is perfect! We know that is impossible, so why is Jesus telling us that?
Because he is setting us up to recognize our need for a Savior who can, in fact, make us perfect. For our righteousness is in Christ, and His one act of righteousness was to make us righteous (Romans 5:18-19).
Jesus was setting us up to recognize that He would be the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us of our sin. Those who heard His voice at that time had no idea, but now we have the complete picture. Without Christ and His death and resurrection, there would simply be no hope for us!