Scripture

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you …”

Matthew 5: 21-22

Thought

Before we continue with the rest of chapter 5, we have to make a brief pause to look closely at a pattern that our Lord used here. In this pattern He behaved with authority above the commandments since the Old Testament.

Five times in this chapter He repeats this pattern “You have heard…, but I say to you…” Each one of them takes us into incredible heavenly levels. They introduced a kind of teaching never heard or even imagined before.

Many commentators saw in these five times no coincidence. The Jews paid much attention to the number five, because it reminded them of the five books of Moses, whom they honored most and considered his teachings as most sacred. Jesus’ teachings here are obviously morally and spiritually higher than the law of Moses.

Also, for the normal Jew, this formulation was a clear hint to Jesus’ deity. All the teachers of His time could never teach without mentioning a long list of references that included names of their teachers and teachers of the teachers back to Moses. To the contrary of that, Jesus simply said “I say…” He spoke and taught with full authority that was His own and not derived from a higher authority, what a revolutionary teaching at that time!

Dear brother, dear sister
Jesus warned us in verse 20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Without these coming heavenly commandments, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Can we take that serious enough?

Prayer

Eternal God, Thou uncreate and primal Light, Maker of all created things, Fountain of pity, Thou Sea of Bounty, fathomless deep of Loving-Kindness: lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us! Lord, shine in our hearts, true Sun of Righteousness, and fill our souls with Thy beauty.

Teach us always to keep in mind Thy judgments, and to discourse of them, and own Thee continually as our Lord and Friend. Govern by Thy will the works of our hands; and lead us in the right way, that we may do what is well-pleasing and acceptable to Thee, that through us unworthy Thy holy name may be glorified.

To Thee alone be praise and honor and worship eternally. Amen.

St. Basileus, died 379