“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. – Matthew 5:21-24 ESV
This is one of those times that Jesus quotes the law, the written law, an external set of behaviors, BUT I SAY TO YOU. There are a few times he does this, Jesus quotes the law that regulates our behavior, our outward actions. But he then takes it below the surface into the heart. He shows it’s fulfillment, its intention beyond our actions. In God’s eyes a MURDERER is NOT limited to the one who commits murder, he is also the one who hates his brother! God is telling us, WHAT WE ARE IN OUR HEART, is who we REALLY ARE! Jesus goes into the severity of holding OFFENSE. This is what is destroying our families, our church, our COUNTRY, the SPIRIT OF OFFENSE. This is why the media, the progressives and the left want to destroy Donald Trump and anybody that supports him- such HATRED! People keeping a POUND OF FLESH, keeping a RECORD OF WRONG. And Jesus goes into the hierarchy from angry, to insulting, to calling someone a fool! In today’s world of vulgarity, FOOL, does not seem like that big of an insult with our now incredible grasp of the language of perverted, profane, insulting attacks. In Jesus’ day it was the equivalent of condemning someone to HELL!
Leader, the word used here is RACA, it means fool- it was a term of reproach used in Jesus day. Jesus is wanting to illustrate the severity of holding onto anger, holding on to BITTER OFFENSE. RACA means empty headed-fool, and that was one of the biggest insults in Jesus day. It actually means GODLESS ONE, and when someone allowed their anger to stew to the point of calling his brother RACA, a fool, he was in danger of the fires of hell! Psalm 14:1 tells us: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. In Jesus’ day to call someone a fool was a very serious allegation. No one would say such a thing unless the anger they bore had turned to such hatred! It is the equivalent of telling someone to GO TO HELL, and meaning it! It is condemnation, ETERNALLY! Not dealing with anger can lead to hatred and hatred leads to murder and many other sins. When Jesus was crucified on the cross He said 7 things; all true believers should know these 7 things. Of the 7, the first was, “Forgive them Father for they know NOT what they do”. Jesus was being abused, degraded, mocked, tortured, ridiculed, belittled and KILLED and He said, FORGIVE THEM! This is our standard; this is our ROLE MODEL! Remember, Jesus said, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH and the LIFE- in other words: DO WHAT I DO!
Conduit, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12) The whole purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was RECONCILIATION between a sinful man and a HOLY GOD! The ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18 refers to the work believers have been given to do and the message they declare: you can have a restored relationship with God through Jesus. The verse says this: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Jesus was all about the CROSS! A cross is formed when a vertical line and a horizontal line CROSS! Just like we were created for relationships both vertical; WITH GOD, and horizontal; with our fellow man! The ministry of reconciliation NOT ONLY involves the proclamation of the gospel and its assurance that forgiveness of sin is available in Christ, but it is also about the horizontal reconciliation between our brothers and sisters. Remember 2 things: 1- God says if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven- see Luke 6:14,37. 2- STRIFE is the breeding ground for every other sin and, its polar opposite, LOVE- covers a multitude of sins! LET IT GO and LET GOD! Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. (Romans 12:19) What can another human being do to us, that was worse than what we did to JESUS? Leave it at the cross! FORGIVE and BE LIKE JESUS!