Go Beyond Superficiality :: Matthew 5
Rules tell us a great deal about the mind-set of the people who make them. Many colleges don’t allow alcohol on campus to promote better studying. Employers only allow a certain amount of sick time because they value a productive return on the salary they pay. And parents punish their kids for not cleaning their rooms because they’re hateful and don’t understand life. (Or is it that they just value cleanliness and teaching responsibility?) The point is, rules are made to guide us toward a behavior desirable to the makers of the rule.
In God’s case, the rules He has established for us serve the purpose of reigning in our sinful nature and guiding us toward righteousness, but they also give us insight into who God is. God’s Law is an outpouring of His holiness. We’ve probably all heard our parents say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” or we’ve said it to our kids. This will never happen with God. He requires nothing of us that He has not already done. Because of this, when He gives us His Law, He is giving us Himself. Jesus’ command isn’t, “Do as I say,” but rather, “Do as I do.” Or, as verse 48 says it, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
These verses include Jesus’ teaching on how God’s people are to deal with anger, lust, divorce, vows, retaliation, and dealing with enemies. And these are just a drop in the bucket of God’s laws. It’s humbling to think that Jesus obeyed perfectly every one of these commands, and even more humbling to think that God’s commands are rooted in who He is. The very basis of what is good and right is God Himself.