Jesus fulfils God’s Law of love, and by His Spirit teaches us to live loving others like He does.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
In 1993 the Prime Minister introduced a law that would deliver significant tax cuts to Australians by the end of 1994. In 1993 however, the government announced that they couldn’t keep the law. They simply didn’t have the resources to deliver the love that the law promised.
Jesus arrives in the story of the world as a hero like no other. As the King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus comes to fulfil God’s Law in every way. And unlike the laws of other kingdoms, His law teaches us what love looks like and it nurtures love in our relationships with one another as God’s people.
If you read what Jesus says about murder, you’ll see he’s talking about relationships. He’s talking about how citizens of God’s Kingdom are to live
as inhabitants of earth, specifically, how we are to relate to one another.
‘Raca’ is an ancient insult that basically calls the other person ‘empty’. Worthless. Useless. ‘Fool’ in the Bible is not so much an unintelligent person but someone who is in real danger of God’s judgement because they don’t care about God or people.
As those who have failed to keep God’s law, Jesus could have rightly and fairly judged each one of us as empty, condemning us as loveless fools who haven’t cared about God or people that much.
Yet at the cross, in love, Jesus took the judgement that we deserved upon Himself. At the cross, He established God’s kingdom and populated it with those who trust in Him. At the cross of Jesus, love takes away judgement. It follows that a kingdom whose citizens have been loved with such undeserved love, should be a kingdom in which active and sacrificial love is shown among its citizens – and especially to those who don’t deserve it.
Well, we are work in progress. But in a world of broken promises, God delivers the love He has promised through Jesus. Having sent Jesus as the true hero and king, He sends us His Holy Spirit, who teaches us the ways of our King. He enables us to live as servants of the King.
Loved by the King. Taught by the King. Equipped by the King to live loving others like He has loved us.
Head: What priority does Jesus teach us to place on pursuing loving, peaceful relationships?
Heart: Would you like God to personally teach you how to stop hating and how to live your life loving others like Jesus does?
Hands: Without putting yourself or others in danger, go and talk to someone that you have had a strained relationship with. Don’t text, FB, PM, or email – go and see them face to face, or speak to them on the phone. Ask God to enable you to love them like Jesus does by showing some personal interest in them: ask a few simple questions about how they are going.
Prayer: Thank you Lord, that you are not quick to condemn like I can be, but that your love has taken away the judgement I deserved and brought me home to you. Please forgive me for not loving other people the way you’ve loved me. Lord Jesus, help me to change. By your Spirit, give me a heart to love the people around me – even those who I think don’t deserve it. Because that’s what you’ve done for me. Amen.
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the God With Us – Matthew series. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the Grow Dailys over the years.