Murder and the Kingdom


Having made it clear that he does not oppose the law but rather those who do oppose the law, Jesus now begins to reintroduce his disciples to what God was really saying in the law. And the first topic he takes up is murder. This seems like a strange place to start, for we would not imagine that homicide was a major issue in Israel, and certainly not among Jesus’ disciples. But as Jesus will shortly make clear, murder, biblically speaking, includes a lot more than physical homicide; it includes everything we do which takes away from the life of our neighbor — things like hating our neighbor in our heart, seeking vengeance, bearing a grudge, talebearing, refusing to seek reconciliation (Lev 19.16-18). When seen in that light, murder really was a big problem in first century Israel, and it would continue to be a big challenge to the early church, as both James and the Apostle John point out in their epistles (James 4.2; 1John 3.15). And if we are honest, I think we have to admit that murder, in the full sense of the word, continues to be a big problem in the church today. The long and short of it is that Jesus’ words about murder are just as relevant, indeed just as needed, in the evangelical church today as they were in the fledgling church 2000 years ago. So lets consider what our Lord says to the churches. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow

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