Skip to content

Just What Is the Law?

February 15, 2020

The journey we are on sometimes is beautiful and picturesque like this trail in Montreat, North Carolina. At other times, the trail can be challenging. The Scripture Readings for The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany are definitely not the pleasant trail in North Carolina. However, even on the rockiest of trails, there is much that we can learn.

As I read Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:21-37 it felt like I had stepped into a warped reality. Plucking out eyes and cutting off hands to “pay for sins” is outlandish to say the least. Then I read the final verse of the passage. Jesus said the following in verse 37–Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Obviously Jesus was speaking metaphorically in the examples he was using. He was using extreme examples to make a point. When Jesus said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, he meant it. He meant it in an extreme way. But the extreme way was not in the way the Pharisees and Scribes thought it would be. It wasn’t in the way they taught it where no common, ordinary person could possibly keep the law. Instead Jesus offered them a new way of keeping the law.

Immediately following these passages, Jesus begins to reveal what he was talking about. If someone strikes you on the left cheek? Offer them your right. If someone sues you and takes your coat, offer them your cloak. If someone forces you to march a mile, walk a second mile. Do not refuse anyone…. and then the kicker, don’t just love your neighbors, love your enemies as well.

The reality was that the people were being called to something greater. Instead of twisting their words and being deceptive, they were to speak plainly. And what language were they to use? The language of Love.

It is the type of love which calls a person to let go of anger, hurt, hatred, and resentment. It is the language which calls us to love and to work together as God’s children. As Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, it doesn’t matter what “brand” you are. Are you a follower of Paul? Great! Are you a follower of Appollos? Super! But that isn’t what defines you. What defines you is that you are a child of God and a follower of Christ.

Far too many have forgotten this today. Yes, I am looking in the mirror as I say this. It’s not about who is in and who is out. It isn’t about what particular “brand” you are. It is about the one we are called to serve. The one who teaches us to lay aside all that divides us from God and from one another.

Instead of judgment (aren’t we all guilty… especially when you look at the extreme examples Jesus shared) why don’t we try on the garments of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. This way isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is the way that leads to peace. The peace that only Christ can offer. We are loved by our by the Triune God–Creator, Christ, and Spirit. We are called to live out the law of love.

It isn’t easy as I said. But it is critically necessary if we are to follow Jesus and share the light and love he offers to the world. Will you join me in this challenge as together we seek to follow Jesus?

One Comment
  1. I’m glad Jesus came to save us

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: