Matthew 5:21-22, 22:34-40
Love and Right Relationships
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.
…a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
In Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus provides his interpretation of several key commandments in the Jewish Law (found in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament). There is a sharp contrast between his interpretation (the way of radical love stated in Matthew 22:34-40) and widely-accepted understandings of first century Judaism. In doing so, Jesus provides six examples of right relationships. These examples offer a guide for disciples to live in a manner compatible with Jesus’ vision of reality. They are worthy of our attention and reflection. It is not just murder that is the problem, for radical love avoids the expression of anger that destroys relationships in community and the name-calling that diminishes a Christian brother or sister.
How does Matthew 22:21-22 influence your understanding of Jesus’ view of right relationships?
How might our congregation more fully manifest this vision of community?
What insights have you gained about the church as a community living in right relationships?
Prayer: O God, we commit ourselves to your way of gentleness and right relationships, of peace and justice. Help us to trust in you to act on our behalf and on behalf of all those who suffer because of others’ wrongdoing. Amen.