February 12, 2017
Text: Matthew 5:21-37
Prayer of the Day:O God, strength of all who hope in you, because we are weak mortals, we accomplish nothing good without you. Help us to see and understand the things we ought to do and give us grace and power to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
"If you wish to maintain love, you must maintain it in the infinitude of the debt….To love is to have incurred an infinite debt." (Kierkegaard, Works of Love, 186-7) This was written by Soren Kierkegaard, whom I consider one of the most profound Christian thinkers. He wrote this in his book Works of Love: a beautiful work on Christian ethics. We will keep Kierkegaard's insight in mind as we turn to our passage from Matthew.
This Gospel passage is harsh. Here Jesus teaches that if you call someone a "fool" then you are in danger of hell's fire. If you look at a woman lustfully, you have already committed adultery. He teaches that it is better to mutilate your body, throwing hand and eye into the fire, than burn in hell. He teaches that if you marry a divorced woman, you have committed adultery. And if you take an oath, you are guilty of being in alliance with the devil. This is part of Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount; the sermon when he, like Moses, speaks to his followers and teaches us how to live.