Read Matthew 5:21-37
5:25,26pp — Lk 12:58,59
21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,1a and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angryb with a brother or sister2 will be subject to judgment.c Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,3’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin.d And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.e
23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person; then come and offer your gift.
25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’1a 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.b 29If your right eye causes you to stumble,c gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to stumble,d cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’1a 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.b
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath,a but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’b 34But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all:c either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;d 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.e 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37All you need to say is simply ‘Yes,’ or ‘No’;f anything beyond this comes from the evil one.1g
This is quite a lot to digest. Jesus is teaching about Old Testament law and putting it into practical terms for the present. He is teaching what it means to have the law in your heart – rather than to just be a law keeper.
Lord, write your law on my heart – so that what you want will be what I want.
pp Identical or nearly identical passages are noted with “pp.”
1 Exodus 20:13
a Ex 20:13; 21:12; Dt 5:17
b Ecc 7:9; 1Co 13:5; Eph 4:26; Jas 1:19,20
2 Some manuscripts brother or sister without cause
c 1Jn 3:15
3 An Aramaic term of contempt
d Mt 26:59; Jn 11:47; Ac 5:21,27,34,41; 6:12
e Mt 18:9; Mk 9:43,48; Lk 16:24; Jas 3:6
1 Exodus 20:14
a Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
b Pr 6:25; 2Pe 2:14
c ver 30; Mt 18:6,8,9; Mk 9:42–47; Lk 17:2; Ro 14:21; 1Co 8:13; S 2Co 6:3; 11:29
d S ver 29
1 Deut. 24:1
a Dt 24:1–4
b S Lk 16:18
a Lev 19:12
b Nu 30:2; Dt 23:21; Mt 23:16–22
c Jas 5:12
d Isa 66:1; Mt 23:22
e Ps 48:2
f Jas 5:12
1 Or from evil
g Mt 6:13; 13:19,38; Jn 17:15; Eph 6:16; 2Th 3:3; 1Jn 2:13,14; 3:12; 5:18,19