READ: Matthew 5:21-26
- Jesus reminds His hearers of what they knew. They knew that murder was wrong. “You shall not murder” was the sixth law in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). But it preceded the formal code of laws. Israel could reach all the way back to Genesis 4 and the story of Cain and Abel. God said to Cain, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries from the ground.” He was wrong for taking Abel’s life.
- Or, they could think about Genesis 9. There in the discussion of Noah’s “be fruitful and multiply” command, God says that anyone who takes a life shall lose his life, because “God made man in His own image.” Murder has never been acceptable. So Jesus’ listeners would know that. When Jesus says, “But I say unto you…”, you have to wonder what’s coming. In the previous paragraph (Matthew 5:17-20), Jesus says we are not even to relax one of these commands.
- The Jews had multiple laws concerning the taking of life. They knew the judgment against such taking of life. Numbers 35 makes it clear that judgment occurred. There was mercy only if the death was accidental (manslaughter). In fact, if the murderer were to “lie in wait” for his victim, the murderer should be forcibly removed even from the altar of God. The penalty for murder was death.
- Why was murder considered a capital offense?
- How do “we treat others in the way we want God to treat us” with regard to murder?
- Why do you think murder seems so easy to commit (17,250 in the U.S. in 2016)?
PRAY: Thank God for His grace in our lives. Pray for Madison Park as we seek to grow in our relationships. Pray that you are open to continued growth as a believer.