Scripture

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-20

Thought

After having elevated us into the heavenly spheres of His beatitudes and describing our mission, Jesus spoke of something else as if He were defending Himself. That was not so, but Jesus wanted to prepare His disciples to receive the New Testament’s teaching coming next.

“You have heard…, but I say to you.” This phrasing will be repeated five times by Jesus. He was comparing His teaching with the one of Moses or of the Old Testament. He wanted to confirm the Old Testament and in no way shake or sabotage it.

To prepare them for the coming teaching He raised the bar extremely high and asked them to go with their righteousness far beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees, who set the standard of that time.

Tomorrow we will be looking more thoroughly at this. Please be ready for the heavenly standards.

Prayer

Hear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love Thee, and clasp Thy hand with all my affections, and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end. For lo, O Lord, my King and my God, for Thy service be whatever useful thing my childhood learned; for Thy 64 service that I speak, write, read, reckon. For Thou didst grant me Thy discipline while I was learning vanities; and my sin of delighting in those vanities Thou hast forgiven. In them, indeed, I learnt many a useful word, but these may as well be learned in things not vain; and that is the safe path for the steps of youth. Amen.

St. Augustine, died 340