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 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 5:21-22 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Genesis 4:5-6
  • James 1:19-20
  • Ephesians 4:26-27


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.