April 15th, 2016
Matthew 5:17-20, 27-32
When we hear a word like “surpass,” we often think of something that is higher, faster, or stronger. These images are “extensive” in that they reach farther than that with which they are compared. When Jesus said that His followers’ righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees, He proposed an “intensive” move that involves a radical change of heart. At one point, Jesus described the Pharisees as whitewashed tombs (23:27). They looked beautiful on the outside but were filled with death on the inside. Jesus insisted that the law be followed from the inside out.
Adultery, Jesus said, includes more than a physical act. The mental and emotional unfaithfulness of lust also violates God’s law. Jesus challenged the disciples to surpass legalistic self-righteousness by allowing God to put the “law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).
Author: Keith Schwanz