- As noted last time, Matthew 5:23 begins with "therefore" marking a logical connection between what was just said (v. 21-22) and what follows (v.23-26). What is the logical connection? To state it simply, what are two responses we are to have in light of Christ's teaching concerning anger? Additionally, can you think of one word that sums up the basic idea of vv. 23-26?
- Matthew 5:27 marks the beginning of Christ's second antithetical statement. Just as before in regard to murder, Jesus is not concerned with mere outward conformity to the law, he is concerned with the real direction toward which the OT Scriptures point. Jesus is concerned with the motive and purity of the heart. A heart filled with malicious anger and insults is a murderous heart. A heart filled with lustful intent and desire is an adulterous heart.
- Are women or unmarried people made exempt from lust and adulterous acts in these verses?
- Matthew 5:29, 30 certainly gain your attention quick! It is certainly a favorite saying of Christ also (c.f. Mt. 18:8, 9). Many having read these verses here and later in Matthew 18:8, 9 have quite literally cut-off body parts to hinder themselves from sinning(Origen being the most common example given)! While their desire to be pure and holy before God is admirable, do you think Christ here advocates self-mutilation? Let me ask this in another way. Can or cannot a blind and crippled person still lust in his heart? If tomorrow you were to lose eye-sight and/or by some tragic incident lose the use of your hands would you never lustfully desire at all?
- If self-mutilation is not the answer, what is the point Christ is making in these verses? How can we effectively guard against the lust of the flesh?
- Key Cross references - Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-24; Job 31:1; Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 2:22.
See you Wednesday