What Jesus Did! 'Murder!' — Matthew 5:21-22

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, 'Don't kill any person. And any person that kills will be judged.' But I tell you, don't be angry with another person. Every person is your brother. If you are angry with other people, you will be judged. And if you say bad things to another person, you will be judged by the Jewish council. And if you call another person a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell."
— Matthew 5:21-22
Illustration of Matthew 5:21-22 — "You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, 'Don't kill any person."

Key Thought

As religious people, it is so easy for us to feel pious and righteous when we hear of all the horrible things done in our world that are ungodly. "Thankfully I'm not one of them!" we can smugly think to ourselves. Jesus shatters all of our smugness. He tells us that he wants our righteousness to exceed that of the Pharisees and Scribes. He really means it. The next several verses will drive this point home. The character of heart described in the beatitudes is now demanded of disciples in our everyday lives. There's no room for smugness when Jesus tells us that angry hatred, slanderous gossip, or shaming speech puts us in the same category as murderers. His point? Murder starts in the heart and works its way out. These two actions are all part of the same continuum—different by degree, not by kind.

Today's Prayer

O Lord, purge from my heart all bitterness, hatred, and venomous anger. Give me your Spirit of forgiveness and grace. I want to be pure in heart and hold nothing against those you love. Father, I don't want to poison my heart with the stains of Satan's tools of anger, judgmentalism, and disrespect. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, 'Don't kill any person. And any person that kills will be judged.' But I tell you, don't be angry with another person. Every person is your brother. If you are angry with other people, you will be judged. And if you say bad things to another person, you will be judged by the Jewish council. And if you call another person a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell. "So when you offer your gift to God, think about other people. If you are offering your gift before the altar, and you remember that your brother has something against you, then leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift. "If your enemy is taking you to court, then become friends with him quickly. You should do that before you go to court. If you don't become his friend, then he might give you to the judge. And the judge might give you to a guard to put you in jail. And I tell you that you will not leave that jail until you have paid everything you owe.

Matthew 5:21-26

Related Scripture Readings

But the Lord did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this, and he became very angry. The Lord asked Cain, "Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad?

Genesis 4:5-6

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Don't become angry easily. A person's anger does not help him live right like God wants.

James 1:19-20

When you become angry, don't let that anger make you sin. And don't continue to be angry all day. Don't give the devil a way to defeat you.

Ephesians 4:26-27

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.