As Lord of the Kingdom and Rabbi of God, Jesus not only highlighted the Old Testament truth but broadened and intensified it to reflect the holiness his Kingdom required. While the audience had heard the standards of behavior set by the Law, Christ revealed the heart of what God desires in the commands. The Kingdom of God and its righteousness intensifies the Law and reveals a high standard that none can keep – without Christ’s forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to those who believe.
The concept of an eye for eye is inherent in every system of justice. Justice is about balance. An offense has been committed and so a debt must be paid to match. Here in the US, justice is often pictured as a blindfolded person holding balancing scales. Christ here is suggesting that balance is not enough. To truly act like our Father in heaven, we must actively forgive wrongs without balance. This, in fact, is the very definition of grace. Thank God that he does not treat us as we deserve!
Gracious and just Father, thank you for your grace; help us to be gracious with others.
From one point of view, worship in the Old Testament is an attitude of homage or adoration to God as a great king. It could be expressed in silence or by a simple gesture. It could be indicated by that gesture in association with praise or the offering of sacrifices. In the final analysis, it is the attitude of the heart that really matters. Such responses were made spontaneously, in recognition of some new disclosure of God’s character and will, or in the course of some regular pattern of ritual activity.
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. pp. 72-73.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Jesus Fulfills the Law, Matthew 5.13-20
Peterson, Engaging with God