“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
– Matthew 5:48 (Jesus speaking; our 12th segment of the Sermon on the Mount)
Jesus made the statement above to conclude what He had been saying about love (which we read yesterday), but it also serves as a conclusion to all six of the “You have heard…but I say…” examples we have read.
Here then is a paraphrased re-cap of what Jesus has been saying to the disciples assembled before Him on the mountain (and that we have spent the last six days meditating upon):
- “You have heard that you should not kill, but I say that you should never even allow hate in your heart.”
- “You have heard that you should not commit adultery, but I say that you should never even allow lust in your heart.”
- “You have heard the manner in which you should divorce, but I say you should avoid it altogether.”
- “You have heard that it’s important to keep your vows, but I say it’s important for every word you speak to be true – not just when you’re swearing an oath.”
- “You have heard that the punishment should fit the crime, but I say that you should dispense mercy and not judgment to those who personally wrong you.”
- “You have heard that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say that you should love everyone…just as God does.”
What Jesus is demonstrating is that He is representing the same God that Moses was – it’s just that their purposes are different. Moses was sent to establish a nation until the time would come when Jesus could come and save the world for humanity – and simultaneously save humanity one human being at a time.
Moses would never think of taking on Jesus’ goal. He knew he wasn’t worthy of such a mission. It would take someone divine to tackle the job assigned to Jesus: reform sinners into saints. It’s almost ludicrous on its face! Yet Jesus surely came to make us like God. As we’ve read before:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, sometimes it’s just too overwhelming to think that I could be like You. Yet this is Your goal for me, so I will embrace it…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)