As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NIV
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you and most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished. Matthew 5:17-18
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:27-30
I can imagine that some of the people listening to Jesus on the mountain wondered how he had the right to expand on the commandments. Already he had added to “You shall not murder” by expanding it to include anger and contempt, via name calling (Matthew 5:22). And then he dares to “meddle” with adultery by adding “lust” to what men had to recognize as adultery in their hearts.
I am grateful that in our day, we have the privilege of moving around in the scriptures, both old and new testaments, to find what we need, as well as using other versions that add understanding to our study.
I am also grateful for the writers who have made an intensive study of the scriptures and that point out what I have not considered before. This book has been most helpful for me in this series: That You May Live: How the 10 Commandments Lead to Human Freedom by Darell Johnson. In it he points out that Jesus is also the Lawgiver who was with God when the commandments were given, so he knows what was intended for them from the beginning — which is how we are to relate first to God and then to each other as valued persons in community.
Jesus as the Lawgiver was restoring the re-humanizing process for people in that time that also continues throughout the whole New Testament.
I was reminded of a children’s carol written by Megan Kincheloe and published by Zondervan, that some of you reading this might remember. Each verse starts with,
“Oh, be careful little
vs. 1. …eyes what you see”;
vs. 2. …ears what you hear”;
vs. 3. …tongue what you say”;
vs. 4. …hands what you do”;
vs. 5. …feet where you go”.
The chorus is:
“For the Father up above, is looking down in love.
Oh, be careful little ______ what you see.”
As you continue with us to pray the Lord’s Prayer, ponder this little song as you pray, “…lead us not into temptation [testing]…”.