The topics covered in this text are intense. Jesus talks about murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, and loving our enemies. That's a full plate! Jesus says over and over again “you have heard it said...But, I tell you”.
There are a lot of things that can be stirred up by this reading. These are issues that people have big questions about. The foundation to understanding what Jesus is saying here is that Jesus takes what we think we know about all of these subjects and pushes it to another level.
Jesus says not only should you not murder anyone but if you are angry with someone that seed in your heart is just as bad. He says not only is cheating on your spouse wrong but if you look at another man or woman and think inappropriate thoughts it is the same as committing the act. Jesus takes these issues to their root and says what is done in your heart is where the real personal damage is. There will be consequences and broken relationships from things like revenge, divorce, and holding grudges. But, the personal damage is not tied to the external consequences, it is tied to the conditions created in our heart.
Jesus’ teaching in this chapter and the next few chapters will seem harsh and impossible to live up to. That is the point. Jesus is showing us that we have no hope of living up to the holiness that God requires apart from a relationship with Him.
God thank You for Jesus! Thank You that You made a way for me to not have to earn my way into Your love and grace. Thank You that because of what Jesus did for me on the cross when You look at me You only see Him. Today I pray that You would show me how to live a full life in that acceptance. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen!