Jesus Took It Further
September 3 – Jesus Took It Further
Read Matthew 5:33-37
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7), Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God and what it should look like on earth. Much of what He taught took common practices of the day and exposed them as legalism that was contrary to the character of God.
Simply put, people were not telling the truth. In many cases, they were wording things very carefully so that they could get out of commitments they made without technically breaking the law. One specific way they were “playing the system” was making vows without specifically using God’s name. When it came time to keep their word, they would say, “I didn’t make that vow in God’s name, so I am not bound to keep it.”
Jesus was not pleased.
Let ‘Yes’ Be ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Be ‘No’
Jesus’ concern was not just that people did the right things, but that they had right hearts. Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (5:20).” The scribes and Pharisees specialized in doing the right things. How could the “normal person” exceed their righteousness? By making sure his heart was right.
Jesus proposed doing away with the vows and oaths. Kingdom people should just tell the truth. If they said they were going to do something, they should do it. If they said they were not going to do something, they should not do it. No need for oaths, vows, assurances, or guarantees. “Yes” means “yes” and “no” means “no.”
Because that’s the way God does things. His people should be holy as He is holy.
How important is truth-telling to God? Why?