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Sometimes Jesus spoke in ways that only those with Heaven-Ears could understand. Like when Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. So, don’t lose your saltiness!”
And, “You are the Light of the world. Shine bright! Everyone can see a shining City that is high on a hill! So, don’t hide your light by covering it with a basket. That’s silly and that doesn’t help anyone see better. Let the good things you do shine out brightly!
“And don’t think I’ve come to get rid of the Law or the prophets. I’ve not come to get rid of those things, but to fulfill them, to make them complete. I’m telling you, unless your righteousness goes above and beyond that of the experts in the Law, you’ll never enter God’s Expression on Earth!”
All the rules Moses had given and everything spoken of by the Prophets were all pointing to one thing — Jesus! Because Jesus is the REAL Word of God.
It’s like this: What if there was someone who spoke wonderful words — helpful words, encouraging words, life-changing words — and their words were written down in a big book so you could read them again and again. That would be awesome. But what if the person who spoke all those wonderful words showed up in the room? Would you keep your nose in the book or would you snuggle up to the person who wrote all the rules and find out more and more and more about that person?
That wouldn’t mean the book was useless. The book of words would still be awesome. You wouldn’t throw away the book. But when you have the real-life person standing in front of you, isn’t that person “fulfilling” and “completing” the words of the book?
The person is “bigger” than all the words He has ever said or will ever say. Because He is all the words — past words, now words, and future words. So now, we go to Him, Jesus, the Word. Even when we are reading His words written down, we go to Him and ask Him to help us understand. The words in the book just point to the Person, Jesus, saying, “This is THE Guy!”
Jesus continued, “Long ago it was said, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders will be in trouble on Judgment Day.’ But I am telling you, that anyone who is even angry with a brother will be in trouble at Judgment. If you call your brother hateful, mean names, you are in hot trouble.
“So if you bring a gift to God and remember that your brother has something against you — stop, leave your gift, and first go and make things right with your brother. Then give your gift to God.
“And you know the Law says, ‘Do not steal another man’s wife.’ But I am telling you that whoever looks at a woman and wants her has already stolen her in his heart.
“And you’ve heard that you can break your marriage covenant as long as it’s legally written on paper. Well, I am telling you not to do that at all, except in very specific circumstances of sin.
“Again, you’ve heard it said, ‘Do not break a sworn promise, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you: do not make sworn promises at all. Instead, make every time you say ‘Yes’ MEAN ‘yes,’ and every time you say ‘No’ mean ‘no.’ In other words, do what you say. Keep your word.
“And you’ve heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I say to you: love your enemy and pray for those who are mean to you, so that you may be like your Father in Heaven. Have you noticed how your Father in Heaven does that? Like when He causes the sun to come up every morning and shine on the evil people as well as the good? And how He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous?
“If you only love people who love you back, then that doesn’t mean much or deserve any reward because even selfish people do that.
“So what I’m saying is: Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
Did you hear what Jesus just said? That’s big. He didn’t say, “Try to be better than you used to be,” or “Just do more good things than bad,” or “Try to be better than most people.” No. He said, “Be PERFECT just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
Jesus told them more. He said, “Love and pray for people who are mean to you. Be nice to people who are not nice to you.
“If a mean person hits you on the cheek, don’t hit them back. Instead, let them hit your other cheek too!
“If someone takes your coat, then just give them your shirt too.
“If someone takes something without asking first, don’t try to take it back.
“If someone makes you walk a looooong way carrying heavy stuff, then offer to do it TWO times.
“If someone asks for one of your things, no big deal! Just let them have it.
“If you do all this, you will have a big reward in Heaven! And you will be children of the Highest and Best God, because God is kind even to the wicked and ungrateful people.”
This doesn’t sound exactly the same as God’s Covenant of Rules that He gave Moses, does it? God’s Rules were full of justice, fairness. If someone hurt your eye, then God’s Rules said that their eye could be hurt. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth.
But all those rules before were pointing to Jesus, the Man, and Jesus was not “changing” or destroying the rules. But NOW Jesus was making everything Higher and Bigger. Jesus was preparing them for a whole new Life In Him, where it doesn’t matter what happens to us in this short-term life.
Justice and Freedom were always in God’s heart. And they’re in Jesus’ heart, too. And Jesus was going to make complete everything that God had said up to this point. Jesus brought both Justice and Freedom, hand in hand. Keep Listening to see how He did that.
As Jesus kept talking, things got even simpler. Jesus told them that there was one thing — just one thing — that if we obey this ONE thing, then we’ll already be obeying all the other rules God ever said in all the Law, and all that the prophets said and wrote.
Are you ready to hear it? It’s simple, but it’s BIG.
Jesus said, “Think, think, think about the things that you would like people to do for you, and DO those things for other people.”
Wait! That sounds too easy! That just sounds like — well, LOVE! Yes, Love! (And the reason doing that one thing takes care of everything else, is because God. Is. Love.)
Can’t most problems be solved if we just love? Think about it. If you’re at a playground and you’re running to your favorite swing, but another child gets there just at the same time as you — you don’t need a rule about swings to choose love. Or if there is one cookie left and you know your sister would like it, you don’t need a rule about cookies to decide to let her have it. That’s Love.
Later one of the teachers of the Law came and asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second most important is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There’s no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, Teacher,” the man replied excitedly. “What You just said is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices!”
Jesus let out a hearty chuckle, saying, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” (‘Cause that guy was starting to understand and see with Heaven-Eyes.)