For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Geographical backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

With increasingly hyperbolic language, Jesus addressed the issue of unchecked anger and its potentially disastrous results as part of his Sermon on the Mount. He even went so far as to declare that angrily insulting another by calling that person a fool (raca) could lead to the punishment of Hell.

The reference for Hell that Jesus used here (a derivation of gehenna) was a literal place that his hearers would have known well. It referred to the Valley of Hinnom, “a deep ravine outside of Jerusalem.” In ancient days of Judah, evil kings Ahaz and Manasseh had used this valley as a place for despicable religious brutality, offering human sacrifices to the fake god, Molech. In the ages after, the Valley of Hinnom became home to the literal refuse of humanity, a constantly burning-and-smoking garbage dump. Corpses of executed criminals were tossed into this place as a final insult, where they burned and decomposed to ashes.

In Jesus’ time, this gehenna was so awful, it was commonly used as a metaphor for final, devastating judgment. As such, Jesus’ mentioning of this place during his sermon on anger would have evoked immediate understanding—and revulsion—in his hearers.

 

Works Cited:

[QST, 1339]

 

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Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Cross-reference comparisons)

posted by Mike Nappa

In Matthew 5:22, Jesus is quoted as saying that anyone who is “angry with his brother” has committed a sin that’s equivalent to murder.

Bible scholar and teacher, Warren Wiersbe, offers this insight on that teaching: “There is a holy anger against sin (Ephesians 4:26), but Jesus talked about an unholy anger against people. The word He used in Matthew 5:22 means ‘a settled anger, malice that is nursed inwardly.’”

Other theologians see Jesus making a reference here to humanity’s first murder—Cain’s killing of his brother, Abel, as recorded in Genesis 4. Cain’s criminal actions were not simply preceded by his jealous anger toward his brother—that is to say, his anger didn’t simply lead to the act of murder. Rather, the act of murder was actually begun in Cain’s sin of “malice that is nursed inwardly.” The killing of Abel itself was the final, outward expression of the murderous sin that Cain had already been nurturing within himself, out of public view.

It is in this sense that anger, unchecked, becomes equivalent to murder. Just as the seed of a rose contains all the DNA of a full-grown rose, unholy anger is the sinful seed that contains all the DNA of murder. Jesus thus strongly encourages his hearers to deal immediately with anger toward others—pursuing reconciliation and forgiveness without delay. In this peaceful pursuit, the sinful seeds of anger are rooted out and rendered ineffective in a person’s life.

Taken in the context of today’s often-divisive political atmosphere, we followers of Christ would do well to heed Jesus’ warning about anger when pursuing our otherwise admirable goals.

Works Cited:

[BEC, 23; BKB, 115]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

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Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Theological commentary)

posted by Mike Nappa

Jesus’ teaching on murder, referencing the 6th of Moses’ Ten Commandments, was more than just a difficult standard to achieve. It demanded that his hearers view him as either God himself, or at the very least, as equal with God.

In ancient days, all teachers of Scripture used “borrowed authority” as the means of justifying their teachings. Rabbis quoted the Law and the prophets, and cited esteemed rabbinical leaders of the past to support their opinions. Prophets spoke as ambassadors of God, couching their every message in phrases like, “Thus says the Lord.” Had Jesus been simply another teacher or prophet of that kind, he would have done the same.

But he didn’t.

Jesus declared, “You have heard that it was said…but I tell you…” to emphasize his total authority as the human incarnation of the divine. The “I” in this phrase is rendered as an emphatic utterance, which could almost be interpreted as “I!” As one classic theologian explained, “Christ claims for his words the same authority, and more than the same authority, as for those once spoken by God.” That was, and still is, a very serious claim.

Jesus apparently saw no need to appeal to any other authority but himself while teaching the true meaning of God’s Word, because he considered himself to be God who authored that Word.

 

Works Cited:

[IB7, 295; PC15, 159]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matthew 5:17-20; The Fulfillment of the Law (Theological Commentary)

posted by Mike Nappa

In the time when Jesus walked the Earth, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were regarded by Jewish society as easily the most righteous of all people. They spent day and night studying and codifying Scripture for themselves and others (much like today’s pastors, theologians and Bible Study Nerds…!). Yet Jesus demanded even more, declaring that “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

So if the Pharisees were the best, yet still not good enough, how can anyone measure up? Theologian R.T. Kendall offers helpful insight into what it means to have a “surpassing righteousness.”

First, Pharisaical righteousness “is surpassed by an imputed righteousness. Jesus fulfilled the Law as our substitute. Therefore, the moment you and I transfer trust…to what Jesus has done on our behalf, the very righteousness of Jesus Christ is put to our credit.”

“Second, one surpasses the piety of the Pharisees by an implanted righteousness. This means that the Holy Spirit imparts the Word into our hearts…the promise of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.”

Third, Pharisees are outdone by the means of “internal righteousness. The Pharisees had only external righteousness…But Jesus has an internal righteousness in mind.”

Fourth, surpassing the Pharisees is accomplished by “an integrated righteousness. It is something that affects the whole person’s life—not just in public, but in private. Not only before men, but before God…This integrated righteousness gives an ever-increasing awareness of the Holy Spirit—an experience that was alien to a Pharisee.”

 

Works Cited:

[SOM, 108-109]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Previous Posts

Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Geographical backgrounds)
With increasingly hyperbolic language, Jesus addressed the issue of unchecked anger and its potentially disastrous results as part of his Sermon on the Mount. He even went so far as to declare that angrily insulting another by calling that person a fool (raca) could lead to the punishment of Hell.

posted 12:00:24pm Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Cross-reference comparisons)
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus is quoted as saying that anyone who is “angry with his brother” has committed a sin that’s equivalent to murder. Bible scholar and teacher, Warren Wiersbe, offers this insight on that teaching: “There is a holy anger against sin (Ephesians 4:26), but Jesus talked ab

posted 12:00:23pm Aug. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 5:21-26; Murder (Theological commentary)
Jesus’ teaching on murder, referencing the 6th of Moses’ Ten Commandments, was more than just a difficult standard to achieve. It demanded that his hearers view him as either God himself, or at the very least, as equal with God. In ancient days, all teachers of Scripture used “borrowed auth

posted 12:00:21pm Aug. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 5:17-20; The Fulfillment of the Law (Theological Commentary)
In the time when Jesus walked the Earth, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law were regarded by Jewish society as easily the most righteous of all people. They spent day and night studying and codifying Scripture for themselves and others (much like today's pastors, theologians and Bible Study Nerds

posted 12:00:35pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 5:17-20; The Fulfillment of the Law (Cultural Commentary)
In the modern practice of the Christian faith, we often live as though the New Testament has abolished the Old Testament, and therefore the Old Testament can be ignored. That was not Jesus’ view. “Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law

posted 12:00:34pm Aug. 18, 2014 | read full post »


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