Intentions & Actions
Jesus often challenges the way we think things ought to be. Why? To show us how he created them to be!
In Jesus' most famous message, the sermon on the mount, he redefines everyone's expectations of how life should be lived.
The people who gathered to hear him would have understood the law of Moses given to the Hebrew people 2000 years before. It was their cultural identity and the rule of how to behave and treat others. But when Jesus addresses the crowd on that famous mountainside everything changed.
The law of Moses had been a law of actions. Things that you actually should or should not do. When Jesus spoke he spoke to the heart of the issue. The intentions and motivations of your heart are far more hidden than what you actually do.
You can seemingly behave perfectly well in public but on the inside be full of anger, lust, deceit and resentments.
Jesus didn't come to just change the way we behave but to cleanse us of the way we think and to give us the tools we need to move forwards in all of our relationships with healthy intentions.
In our latest series on the Upside-down Kingdom we took a look at Jesus teaching on these topics and discovered a better way to live. Let's take a look at each one briefly.
And if you want to read the bible passage we've been studying you can here.
Matthew 5:21-48 New International Version
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; 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. 26 Truly 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.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, 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.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Murder: This really was an idea around anger and how we deal with those emotions. So often though our anger is based on an immediate situation. So when we get angry with someone it's best to let the feelings subside and take a look at ourselves. As Jesus said, if you are being taken to court, settle the matter before you arrive. I m sure we have caused others to feel angry too so let's put our anger into someone else's shoes, find some empathy and settle the issue calmly before it escalates.