STANDARDS HAVE BEEN RAISED

Matthew 5:21,22a Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:

There is a TV show called “the cube”, and in this programme, participants face a series of deceptively simple tasks while in a confined space. This particular setup, with additional time constraints has the ability to make even the most simple of activities appear really complex. Hence, during gameplay, should a contestant encounter a question seeming too difficult to attempt, there is the option to ask for the task to be ‘simplified’.

Such simplification was what I would have expected with the arrival of Jesus in all dimensions. Certainly, He paid for our salvation, presented Mercy and access to the father at a level we would have been unable to attain. In addition, realising that the Pharisees had rules that were quite a challenge to follow to the letter, we would have expected some simplification of these.

This, he does in some respects but in other areas, He made things even more challenging. As we read today, He so raised the standards that even for actions that would have only warranted a small bat of the hand now seemed a massive error. As an example, He placed anger and murder in the same brackets, with the two warranting the same punishment.

That was rather unusual, and so it would appear Jesus had made matters worse, made it a lot more difficult to follow already challenging rules. But then it made sense! The only reason standards are elevated is because we are no longer on our own: our striving ahead is not of our own accord for we have assistance. We now journey with a helper, and grace sufficient to guide us through. In this, we are reminded that our sufficiency is not of ourselves, but of God.

#sly

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