“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:19 NASB)
This is one of those strong statements Jesus pulls off wonderfully.
I know, our society hates black and white – we are a ‘shades of gray’ culture for sure. And yet Jesus is a high contrast kind of guy.
I want to glean a couple handfuls here.
First, notice that Jesus, far from trying to keep everyone on an even footing is actually encouraging us to strive for greatness. To some of us, this sounds almost heretical, but Jesus gave hints for greatness all the time.
He is also re-emphasizing the law and prophets.
In Luke 10 Jesus approves a retelling of the law in 2 statements,
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
And he answered and said, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS, AND YOU WILL LIVE.” (Luke 10:25-28)
I want you to know, this is not a simplification of the law. Jesus actually makes it more impossible than ever to keep the law. [Tweet This] There is only one way to keep the law. You must go through the Father’s 12 step plan. The Father promises to:
- Sprinkle clean water on you
- Cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
- Give you a new heart
- Put a new spirit within you
- Remove the heart of stone from your flesh
- Give you a heart of flesh.
- Put My Spirit within you
- Cause you to walk in My statutes
- Save you from all your uncleanness
- Put My law within them
- On their heart I will write it
- Be your God
As a result you will:
- Be clean
- Be careful to observe My ordinances.
- Live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so
- Be My people
(Ezekiel 36:25-29 & Jeremiah 321:33 NASB –adapted)
Your very life will teach His commandments, and you will be great in the kingdom of God. Not by any of your own merit, but because of the heart surgery done by the Father.
Come back soon!