You Have Heard

Today’s devotion from Matthew 5. Jesus stands opposed and in opposition. That is just who He is and what He has come to do. As He climbed the hill to teach His disciples and to allow the crowds to overhear His words, He knew that what He was about to say would be shocking. Some would be inspired while others would be insulted, but all would be changed in some way.

Jesus states that God will bless those who expect it least. Those easily overlooked by society were tasked by God to stand out like a city on a hill. Those thought expendable in their culture were to become as invaluable as salt. Those with expectations were to completely reevaluate their comprehension of Jesus’ mission and ministry.

Then Jesus became really controversial.

“You have heard it said.” These words were like a shot across the bow of every Jewish religious leader. Of course these leaders would be upset. It was those same leaders who had previously said “it” over and again. Jesus stands opposed by and in opposition of these men and their wrong teachings. They had perverted the Law, twisting it into a tool, no, a weapon, to be used for their benefit and to oppress  those in their paths. They would stand on technicalities that Jesus would destroy. They would cast aside those they had vowed to nurture and love.

This is the message of the Christ and the work of Jesus. He did not come just to defy these men, but to demonstrate that their religion is not the same as the one entrusted to them. The result? Their idea of religion actually opposed God. Therefore, Jesus came to stand in opposition of them for the benefit of those hurt by their corrupt ideas and practices.

As you read the words of Jesus, don’t be surprised if they seem odd and contrary to the words you’ve heard spoken by friends and neighbors.

You have heard it said, but Jesus came to restate.