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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Need for Reconciliation

Reconciliation“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:21-26 ESV)

We see in the above verses that Jesus is responding to the traditional interpretations of the Law during His time on Earth, not the Law itself. Note that He says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old.…” He is referring to the oral traditions rather than the written Law. These were the accepted traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees.

For instance; the phrase “whoever murders will be liable to judgment” may be referring to local courts, but Jesus did not see this as going far enough. Was this Law only concerned with real acts of murder?

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

(Matthew 5:22 ESV) Jesus taught that “everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Indeed, “whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council (Sanhedrin).” Anyone who says, “You fool! will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Therefore, we see that the traditional interpretation of the Law fell far short of the teachings of Christ. Matthew 5:23-24 says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV) In other words; we should not try to worship God when we are presently having a conflict with a brother. Such relationships should be restored before worshipping God. Wrong feelings towards others can harm our relationship with God.

Jesus has provided us here with an interesting contrast between traditional views of the Law and the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. He shows us that the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees did not go far enough in applying the Law.

Jesus also teaches us that wrong thoughts and emotions, such as anger toward others, can harm our relationship with God. We only want to think of murder as the physical act of killing someone, but we can also murder relationships and the reputations of others. We must learn to overcome wrong thoughts and emotions – and, in order to do this, we must be born again. Peter writes, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. . . .” (1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

3 Responses

  1. […] The Need for Reconciliation (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com) […]

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  2. Overcoming wrong thoughts and emotions is indeed effective in reconciling to God, love, Life. Thanks.

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