Monday 07 February 2022

Bible Book:

'And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.' (vs 36-37)

Matthew 5:33-37 Monday 7 February 2022

Psalm 71:1-16


In our Bible study this week we continue to work through the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has already worked through a number of issues such as murder (5:21-26), adultery (5:27-30) and divorce (5:31-32). Each time he begins with the phrase, “You have heard it said”. These words tell us that Jesus is talking to the people listening about something they are already aware of. These commands were familiar to his audience and if we do a bit of digging we can find them in the laws in the Old Testament.

 Each time Jesus follows this first phase with another, “But I say to you”. They show Jesus is now sharing a deeper truth about the familiar commands or maybe even reinterpreting them for the people gathered around. This would have been a familiar occurrence for those used to listening to a rabbi speak. The interpretation of the Old Testament law was vital for living a godly life and people would want to know what this new rabbi had to say.

Jesus turns to the issues of oaths. We may not link this easily to Old Testament laws but if we dig around we can find instructions on them (Leviticus 9:12, Numbers 30:2, Deuteronomy 23:21-23). We also note from later in Matthew (23:16-22) that the religious leaders liked to complicate how oaths are sworn. Jesus strips all this away and simply tells us to say yes or no.

This simplicity strips away all the pretence, all the bravado of promises made on your parents' life or to God in heaven. Just tell the truth. It is a provocative request if today's standards are to go by, but one that we should seek to live by.


To Ponder:

  • Have you ever made a promise you did not keep? How did it make you feel?
  • How can we be better at speaking the truth?
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