We began last Friday a consideration of whether Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount was a “new” teaching. Were concepts like turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and love your neighbor uniquely Christian concepts that were foreign to the Law of Moses? No.
Let’s look into this further.
In the Old Testament, was it okay to lust as long as you didn’t commit adultery? (Matthew 5:27-30)
The 10th commandment says otherwise (Exodus 20:17). “Do not covet.” Just replace that word with lust. Do not covet (lust for) your neighbor’s wife.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?
Job 31:1 – Job made a covenant with his eyes. He honored his marriage vows even with his eyes.
In the Old Testament, was it okay to play semantics with your promises in order to weasel out of keeping your word? (Matthew 5:33-37)
The 9th commandment says otherwise (Exodus 20:16). Don’t bear false witness.
The 3rd commandment also says otherwise (Exodus 20:3). Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Don’t invoke God’s name, including when making a commitment, unless you are dead serious about honoring His name by keeping that oath.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-6 – Don’t be hasty to utter promises…God is in heaven and you are on earth, let your words be few. If you are going to make a commitment, keep it!
As you can see from the Old Testament passages, God (Jesus) expected the Jew to keep from lust and to keep his word. Jesus was not introducing a new standard of conduct that He did not always expect from His people.
More to come later..