Setting the Bar High

Daily reading: Matthew 5:21-22
June 15, 2015

Focus Scripture: “You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment.  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22a

          Jesus sets the bar higher or maybe a more accurate reading is that he broadens the scope of the law.  It is all grounded in the story of the Exodus, when God created parameters first for those in the newly emancipated slaves and how they are to be a new community led by God.
These parameters are given at Mount Sinai and are commonly known as the 10 commandments, which happens to be the basis for Jesus’ instruction portion of his sermon.  Jesus then takes these parameters set out by God to commission a new people, a chosen people, and Jesus expands on them, he infuses them with deeper meaning.
Another way to look at it is this way, Jesus is getting to the core of our dysfunctionality as well as challenges us from having too narrow of an interpretation of scripture. 
The rules in other words are not a means in themselves, but point out a variety of ways our behavior points to something more going on under the surface.
Jesus says that the real problem is not murder but the anger that dwells inside of us. Jesus says that our real problem is not adultery but it is the lust in our hearts.
Jesus says that our real problem is not divorce but the brokenness of our relationships. 
What he does is give us a reason for following the law and that reason is because God cares for us and cares how we treat one another.  God cares about our relationships.

Prayer:  God help me to focus on being and seeing your presence in all of my relationships and encounters with others today.  Amen.


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