“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
(Matthew 5:21-22 ESV)
In yesterday‘s study Jesus debunked the prevalent notion that one can earn salvation through outward behaviors. It is our inward attitudes and motives that are much more important to God. Beginning today and for the next few days, Jesus will give several examples of what He means by clarifying Old Testament laws that had become falsely interpreted by the religious leaders of the day.
Jesus took what the people [had] heard was said and told them it was wrong. He replaced these false beliefs with the correct ones – ones that He Himself defined (But I say to you). Jesus was establishing Himself as the sole authority on spiritual matters. And the people were amazed [Matthew 7:28-29l; Mark 1:22].
An analogy is hard to come up with but imagine someone today appearing on television explaining to the country the true intentions of the US Constitution. Imagine he clarified all the debatable issues and boiled it down to its true interpretation. Imagine he spoke with such authority and confidence and clarity that made sense to everyone who listened.
This is how Jesus spoke. He explained the law of God in a way that no one alive had ever heard before. He removed all the extra rules that had been added by the religious leaders. He removed any confusion as to what God’s standards were. And the people were slack-jawed.
By establishing Himself as the authority on the law of God Jesus was equating Himself with God. Either Jesus was an arrogant megalomaniac or He truly was God. Even a cursory study of the rest of Jesus’ life demonstrates that He never sought attention for Himself. His entire life was spent ministering to others. He was not a narcissist. He was God on earth.
Jesus took the highest wisdom of men and corrected it. He didn’t reason with anyone. He didn’t justify His opinions. He just spoke as if what He was saying was 100% true. No debate was needed.
No human being can adequately speak for God. As we learned previously, man makes rules that are nothing more than whims and loopholes to justify our own sin. If anyone wants to understand spiritual issues they should not look to another human being or within themselves.
What the Pope says doesn’t matter. What the Dalai Lama says doesn’t matter. What the President of the Mormon Church says doesn’t matter. What Mohammed said doesn’t matter. What the President of the United States says doesn’t matter. What Oprah says doesn’t matter.
Jesus’ is the only authority in heaven or on earth. Unless someone’s comments and opinions about the Bible or eternity or any spiritual issue agree with Jesus, then that person is wrong.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.