Matthew 5:21-26, "To Reconcile Murderers"
“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. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:21–26, ESV)
Murderers Are to Be Executed
The text begins, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder.” As I pause and reflect on that passage, I don’t know that we have heard that. Based on the events of this past week it seems that there is a steady increase in the atrocities and tragedies that are taking place. In 1999, Columbine High School happened. There was a school shooting at a high school that was in a suburb of Denver. It was a tragic shooting. It was appalling in the sense that it was something that was never heard of. And yet, just this past year in Ohio the same thing has happened again. Just this last week, we see it happening yet again.
And so as I am pondering over this text, the passage says in verse 21, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not murder.’” I don’t know that we are really hearing that. I don’t know that here within Canada, we’re really hearing the testimony of God through His Word regarding a bare minimum of what He expects from society. God says it very simply: You shall not murder.
In Genesis 9:5-6, as God is speaking to Noah, He says,
“And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:5–6, ESV)
There has just been a worldwide flood. God has just wept all of civilization off the earth, and there are just a handful of people coming off the Ark. It is Noah and his family who are eventually going to form the table of nations, in effect the beginning of all civilization. It is going to begin there with Noah. As Noah is coming off the Ark, God’s statement to Noah is very simple:
“For your lifeblood, I will require a reckoning.”
As God is talking to Noah, he says, “Your life, your blood is precious. And there will be a reckoning for it if anyone sheds it.” God goes on to say, “From every beast, and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed. For God made man in His own image.”
The reason given for why murder is wrong is that each of us in this room, both you and me, are created in the image of God. We resemble Him in the sense that we have a soul, we have a moral capacity, and we are formed to reflect the character of God. Because we possess the image of God it is inherent, it is something that He gives us, that our lives are sacred. They are not to be taken. Murdering a person is a boundary which all mankind is prohibited from crossing.
You will not murder, and if you do murder, if you cross that boundary you forfeit your life. That is clearly the teaching of God here in Genesis. You may object and say, “Wait a second. No, no. This is a function of Government. All of civilization will arise out of this family. But at this point in time it is just one family. We find that to be the historical case. Out of Noah’s family the table of nations will arise. And out of every nation, whether they worship the one true God or not, whether they were involved with all kinds of pagan idolatry or not, every nation up until the last century has had clear and explicit law that says you will not murder, and if you murder, cold-blooded and premeditated, you will be executed.
Negotiating with Murderers?
It goes on, God speaking to this issue. You may ask, “What about plea bargains? What about making a deal to get out of it? What is God’s perspective in that regard?”
“Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest. You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.” (Numbers 35:31–33, ESV)
The imagery that is being used here in the Scripture is that the blood soaks into the ground. So even though it may disappear from sight, soak beneath the grass and under the soil and become something that you and I cannot see, in rather graphic terms God is saying that He still sees it. When the sounds of violence stop, and when the evidence of murder passes away God still sees it. With regards to God’s perspective, you simply do not murder. If you do murder, He requires justice to be done. He requires an execution.
Why would he do this? All of mankind is broken. We are all sinful. We are all fallen. There are two things that restrain our wickedness and that keep us from tearing ourselves apart. There are two things that God, by His grace, has given to us that enable our society to continue on.
- Every person has a conscience.
- Governments to punish evil.
Conscience: Yes, it is warped. We justify and excuse our behavior too often, but every person in this room has a conscience. Though it may be warped and twisted, we still have a conscience. All of us have the understanding that there are certain things that are right, and there are certain things that are wrong. God restrains wickedness on the earth by striving with the souls of mankind, pleading with us in an effort through His Spirit to restrain our immorality.
But number 2, Government and the rule of Law are instituted that we would fear the consequences of our actions that we would fear the outcome of what we do. It is through this motivation of fearing the outcome of our actions that we would choose not to engage in those actions. That is the clear teaching of Scripture. The rule of Law is given to restrain evil, to protect innocent life, and to teach all mankind that the creator who makes us places a certain value on human life. Ultimately, He will be the judge and jury of any murderer.
So when it comes to, “Let’s make a deal: is there any way that we can negotiate in such a way that we can commute my sentence?” Although this is quite common in our judicial system, from God’s perspective when it comes to making deals with murderers, absolutely not. His clear teaching is if you murder there are no deals. The death penalty is what He prescribes.
Now for a lot of us in this room who hear that, and Canadians in particular, we pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t execute anyone. We don’t execute anyone. There is no death penalty in Canada. You sort of pat yourself on the back, and say to yourself, “Yay! Go Canadians, because we are not savage barbarians in that regard.” When you do that, you devalue human life from God’s perspective.
I know that you think that this is good that we don’t kill people. But that opinion and that perspective is a self-righteousness which is not grounded in the clear teaching of Scripture. From God’s perspective, those who murder in cold blood are to be executed. That is the only way that you show a proper restraint and a proper appreciation for every person’s life.
But, Josh, perhaps they weren’t thinking clearly. They probably weren’t in their right minds when they did this activity. They are probably insane. What about those people?
Well of course they’re insane. Of course they are not thinking clearly. No person who ever thought clearly would ever transgress God in anything. All of sin, all of rebellion, all of it, all is completely irrational. Everything we do, when we rebel against God, the Creator who made us from nothing for the sake of blessing us, to bring us joy, so that we could delight ourselves in Him, everything we do to violate Him and go against His standards: it is all irrational. We are created by nothing of our own. Just because of who He is, He desires to give us life. He decides to make us. And out of gratitude and appreciation for that we determine to go and murder someone, to transgress the law of God, and I am going to exalt myself and I am going to do whatever I want. And when I get caught I will simply console myself with the thought that, “Oh! I just wasn’t thinking clearly!”
Listen, God knows that you weren’t thinking clearly. Nowhere in the Scriptures does He ever justify your failure to grasp the consequences of your actions. He never ever excuses that by not holding you to the consequences of your actions. Though you don’t get it, which is perfectly understandable, you didn’t take time to think about the One with whom you were dealing; God in His mercy still requires that you be held to the full ramifications of what you want to do.
We are all tempted, all the time, to step away from the table of reality into our own world. We want to say, “This is my morality. This is what I think I ought to do. This is the way that I think I ought to live.” And God, out of love for us, says “You can think that all you want. The truth is I govern reality. I am the creator of life. I am the sustainer of life, and I am the final judge.” He will hold us, whether we want to or not, to the full consequences of what we do.
Pity the Death Penalty as Cruel?
The problem with us, when it comes time to do what God expects of us, is that we do not listen to what He is saying. You look at folks, who are murders, and Canada has her fare share, and you tend to pity them. You tend to think, “Oh, they had a rough child hood. Mom was never around. There wasn’t a father around, and we should just put these guys in prison for the rest of their lives. They are not really responsible.”
Again, that does not mesh up with Scripture. When it comes time to do justice, God is explicit.
There will be no pity. Your heart’s emotional response to a murderer should never be one of pity.
“Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.” (Deuteronomy 19:13, ESV)
You can feel sorry for the victims. You can feel sorry for the families who have lost loved ones. You can grieve for all of those individuals. You can feel sorry for the murderer’s soul. You can share the Gospel with him. You can give him the good news. But God’s standard is inviolable. When it comes time to doing justice, don’t pity the murder that shed innocent blood.
Beyond the Scribes and Pharisees
This is the teaching that the Scribes and Pharisees would have upheld. I know there are those of us in this room who hear that, and we think “Man, that goes against everything that we as a country stand for. Maybe that’s not what the Scriptures are really teaching.”
Well, that at a bare minimum is exactly what the Scribes and Pharisees were teaching, and Christ upholds that standard and says, “It’s not enough. Not only have you heard that, ‘Whoever murders will be liable to the judgment,’ not only have you heard that, but I say to you: that everyone in this room, and everyone in this world who is angry with his brother will be liable to the judgement.”
The literal rendering here is “makes himself subject to the judgment. He will place himself into the hands of God.”
We see here a sort of progression. He starts off here with the expression, the “judgment.” Christ probably has here in view a sort of provincial or local or tribal court. Everyone who murders will be accountable to the local authorities. Whoever murders will make himself accountable to the RCMP, or the Sherriff, or the police department. They will come for you.
Now notice the next phrase: everyone who insults his brother, as he says, “racca” will be liable to the council. This is the Sanhedrin. It would have been the high court in Israel. It would be like the Supreme Court in the states. So you see an interesting progression here: whoever actually murders, who actually takes another man’s life, will be subject to the local authorities.
But look at what happens to individuals who insult their brother. The term is actually derogatory. The term, “Racca” is something that you would say in anger. A modern day equivalent would be like when you’re driving down the freeway, and you accidentally cut somebody off. So then they swerve around you and they may give you some inappropriate gestures. That’s the meaning of this term, “Racca.” Its basic meaning is that you are a fool, but the way in which it is said with the venom, with which it is uttered, it is very very angry. It is very very violent.
The next phrase is “moron.” The ESV will translate it “you fool,” but the Greek work is moros, which is moron. That is an expression that doesn’t necessarily carry any venom or vitriol with it. So what you have here in this verse is an actual stepping down in degree in terms of how offensive or how violent the expression is, but you have an increase in the level of judgment.
For example, “Whoever actually murders a person will be subject to the local authorities. Whoever says, ‘Racca!’ You fool! You idiot” in anger will be subject to the Supreme Court. And whoever on a simple level says, ‘moron,’ you will make yourself subject to the hell of fire.” That is what Christ says here in this verse. As the degree and the intensity of the offense steps down, Christ is saying the degree and intensity of the judgment increases.
Now, what He is doing there with that expression is to show you that in your heart, if you do not show a basic appreciation for your fellow man to the degree that in a very simple way insult him by calling him a moron, that arises from a heart condition that God will punish with eternity in hell. It isn’t just that you have murdered a person that brings God’s judgment, although that does. Christ’s standard of righteousness goes beyond that. The love and the regard which you are to have for all people is that you do not even carelessly insult them or call them a moron.
I’m just going to confess to you this afternoon, I have called people “moron” before. And I know you have to. So everyone of us in this room has a real problem. Christ’s standard of righteousness is that our respect for other people should be such that we do not even casually insult them. So what’s to be done? What is the resolution to our dilemma?
How to Solve this Problem?
He goes on. Verse 23.
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...
Notice the phrase, “First.” This is the clear command of Jesus Christ. This is what your king expects of you. If you know that your brother has something against you then you need to take care of business. And the verb here occurs in the passive tense. The verb literally means that you’re just there doing your thing, and then all of a sudden the thought just randomly enters your mind. It sort of occurs to you, “Oh! Johnny is angry with me! Johnny has this against me. I’ve done this to offend, Johnny!” Christ’s teaching to you, in that moment, without skipping a beat you had better be going and seeking reconciliation with John.
It says here in verse 24,
“First, be reconciled.”
There are two verbs here. It is an interesting construction. One is active: you are pursuing and chasing after something. The second verb “reconcile” is a passive verb which means that you must be granted reconciliation. It is something that has to be given to you. It is not a matter of just going to a person and saying, “Sorry.” It’s going to require an expression of sorrow, an expression of repentance, and it’s going to require a request which the other person has to give. Your request must be, “Will you forgive me?”
And if that is a sincere request, Christ’s expectation on them is that they will forgive you. The verb construction is that you actively pursue being granted something: reconciliation.
I was struggling with how to explain this earlier in the week. I was trying to come up with a good illustration of how to explain this. I’m having coffee with Michael Oatway and Odette Capputto on Thursday morning, and it almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: there’s a coffee shop and a lawyer and a pastor and an accountant are having coffee... You almost feel like it’s the beginning of a bad joke. But we do get together on Thursday mornings and we have coffee. Odette was sharing with us a verse out of Proverbs that really struck her about doing justice, and of course, she’s a lawyer and so that is her calling in life. She feels called to do justice and to stand up for justice. As we were kind of chuckling and laughing about that, I turned to Michael Oatway and said, “How about you, Michael? Do you have a verse that’s your life verse for accounting?”
And Michael made the most profound statement. He said, “There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that speak to reconciliation. After all, that’s all an accountant does.” I thought, “Cha-ching!” That is a sermon illustration right there.
Think about it. How many of you have your check book and try to reconcile it with your bank statement? My wife and I do this all the time. The amount that your check book says does not quite mesh up with what your bank account says. Sometimes, the bank account says that you have more money than what your check book says you ought to have, and you are tempted. “Yeah, buddy. Let’s go spend that extra money.” But the truth is that some people are holding checks that you have written that they just haven’t cashed yet. You are still waiting for that money to be given over to the appropriate party. That’s reconciliation.
When you are reconciling there is an entity on one side, the Bank, that says that you have this much money. You have X amount of dollars. Then you are on the other side, based on your own records that you have kept for better or worse, that say you have this much money. Person A is saying you’ve got this amount, and person B is saying, no. What I really ought to have is this amount. The meaning of this verb, “Reconcile,” is that the two of you come together and say, “What is the truth of this situation at hand? Is this amount, or is it this amount? Or could it be some other totally different amount that neither of us understands?” When you get together with your bank accountant... when individuals go to Michael Oatway, and they are asking for his assistance, this is the nature of accounting.
It is not simply you say, “Oh, sorry.” And the other guy says, “Okay, whatever!” Then you part ways and still secretly hate each other. That is not what the Scriptures are saying! What Christ is commanding you to do here in this passage is to go to this person. You then give an accounting of your behavior. They have to acknowledge that accounting of the behavior. It is either a legitimate accounting, or you have missed some stuff. And then the two of you come to an agreement on what actually transpired. And one of the parties involved needs to acknowledge that they are wrong.
To drive that home, Jesus uses that exact illustration as He is seeking to explain the nature of what he is asking His disciples to do. He goes on and he says,
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
The idea that Christ is using to illustrate his teaching is the idea of a debtor’s court. You have borrowed money from someone, or you have taken out money from the bank that was more than you thought. And now the bank has come back and said, “You owe us this.” Or the person you have borrowed money from comes back and says, “You owe me this amount.” Your response is, “Naw, I don’t owe you that amount.” So then he grabs you, and he is taking you to the debtor’s court, and he is going to place you before the judge, and he is going to show the judge his copy of the books. And you are going to show your copy of the books, and somebody is going to jail one way or another. And if it’s you and you owe, you’re going to go to jail until you have paid the last penny.
He is saying that if you owe your brother anything, and you’re going to the judge. He’s walking you down there. The term is an interesting term. It’s only used once in the entire New Testament. It has the basic meaning of engaging in a civil lawsuit which fits perfectly within the illustration of a debtor’s prison. But it is also used outside of the New Testament in secular Greek as a term that means, “harmonizing your friendships.” So Christ’s idea, even as He is using this illustration of balancing the books, is make friends. Make friends, fast. Reconcile.
So Jesus Christ is saying, “Not only are murders liable to the judgment, not only are murderers subject to the death penalty, but everyone who is angry, everyone who insults a person, and if there is anything that causes disunity or disharmony between you – none of this should be acceptable and none of it should be present in the life of a Christian.”
Christ stands Watching
Now, we all love Jesus. We all worship Him. We respect Him, we honor him, and we know Him to be God. Look back at verse 23 and look at what He is saying to us, “If you are offering your gift at the altar...” He’s in Galilee. He’s up on this mountain outside of Galilee. He’s there talking to His disciples who have come there and gathered together to Him.
Did you know that Galilee is quite a distance from Jerusalem? If you are going to worship God with an offering, there’s only one place where you can do it. That’s in Jerusalem. Galilee is about 68 miles or 109 kilometers. Average walking speed of about 6 km/hr, you could make the journey in seventeen hours. Historians, however, say the terrain is so rough that it’s actually about a three and half day journey. Did you hear what Jesus is saying here?
He’s in Galilee. He’s saying, “If you have gone down to Jerusalem to worship me. I’m Yahweh. And you’re there in Jerusalem, 109 kilometers away – 4 day journey, and it occurs to you as you have just put your offering on the altar to worship me, that there is something between you and another brother, just stop right there. You leave the offering there, walk 109 kilometers back to Galilee. You go a four day journey back to where you are from, and you reconcile before you come and offer your gift.”
How many of you are in this room right now and you know there have been sharp words between you and a friend and a loved one. How many of you in this room right now have come from New Mexico or Houston, the Woodlands, and you know that there is somebody back there with whom you have had a sharp disagreement and you are angry. Your thought was, coming from New Mexico, “I’ll just leave that alone, and I’m gonna go up there to Canada and serve God. I’ll take care of this when I get back.”
Well, I’ve got good news. You’re blessed because you have the telephone. But I’ve got bad news: Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you will have any spiritual fruit in any ministry that you will perform here this week without making that phone call today.
This is God’s teaching in the Scripture. We trust Him. We love Him. He is the giver of everything. How dare we, for one second, think that we could ever take anything into our own hands even to the extreme of another person’s life? But on another level, how dare we think that we are allowed to have divisions within the body of Christ, and yet, still come to a place where we can worship Him?
That is the explicit teaching here. You’ll notice that it says, “Your remember, it occurs to you that your brother has something against to you.” Now Paul says over in Romans, “As much as it depends on you live peaceably with the world around you.” If you have a co-worker or a colleague that you work with, and there’s obviously some tension there and some sort of conflict, and you attempt to reconcile with him. The obvious truth is that if they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ there is a limit to how far you can go to reconcile that relationship, because they have not first been reconciled to God. So, with all these kinds of issues in their life, how could they possibly reconcile with you? Paul’s teaching is that, as much as it depends on you, try to live peacefully with the world around you.
But Christ’s teaching here in Matthew 5 uses the term, “brother.” He’s in Galilee. His disciples have come to Him. This is from Matthew 5:2. He’s talking to Christians, which means that within the body of Christ, when He says, “brother,” he’s talking about anybody in this room who has a relationship with any other Christian or any other believer, be it in this room or in any other church, His explicit teaching is that if you have issues between the two of you and you have not striven for reconciliation, have not actively gone after it in order to receive forgiveness, then you have not tried to balance the books, you have not tried to come to an understanding of what has gone on, and yet you dare to come into this room and worship Me, then you are wrong! There’s the door. That is exactly what He is saying.
He comes himself, in the image of man, taking on the flesh of man. The incarnation shows that God the Father, who loves God the Son and God the Son who loves God the Father, they bind themselves to humanity so much so that when you place your faith in Jesus Christ and you become a Christian and there is another person who has a relationship with Jesus Christ, Christ is dishonored by you if you dishonor another of his brothers or sisters.
So, there’s really nothing to it. If you want vitality, if you want spiritual fruit, if you want God back in your life, if you want to be able to come and worship truly next week, Christ’s statement is that you have things you need to take care of. And it all begins at the cross.
At the Cross
When we sin, and all of us in this room have, we have violated a holy and loving God. There is a punishment to be had for that. And it alludes to it here in this passage: Gehenna, hell. Eternal Hell. A number of months ago, I had the opportunity to be in a court house down here in Kamloops to watch the sentencing of an individual.
It was sobering. You step into the courtroom. It is incredibly silent. It is quieter than what we have here in this room. If you just stop for a second you can hear the whirring of the fans and the squeaking of the ventilation shaft over there. I stepped into that room: dead silent. It was sound proofed. You couldn’t hear anything going on out in the hall.
As lawyers entered the courtroom, they bowed before the crown, the seal of the Queen on the back wall there of the courtroom. They approached the bar and again did a bow or a curtsy as they stepped beyond the bar. And there was, within that room, a spirit of reverence. I would say even a spirit of almost worship in terms of the respect and the regard that the lawyers and the sheriff and the guards had for what was sitting at the bench. It was just a man, but that man represents the Queen. That man represents Justice here in Canada. And I sat there in that court room watching all of this unfold, and I remember thinking, “This is absolutely terrifying.”
It was dead silent. Nobody was cheering. Nobody was clapping. Nobody crying, save for the accused. And when the bailiff approached the Judge, he went up behind this giant enormous oak desk and placed a giant 3 inch, 3 ring binder in front of him filled with pages. And he began to read out the list of charges.
“So and so, you stand accused of such and such crime,” and then he would read out the details, so forth and so on. He would come to the end of it, and he would say “Guilty as charged,” flip the page and do it again, flip the page and do it again. This went on for almost an hour, charge after charge after charge. Then there came another section in the law in which he would say, “This is the Punishment that Canada has for this particular crime: for the offense of this,” and he would reference the charge, and then the details, and then the fact that he was guilty before proceeding on to the judgment that was being handed down. This repeated itself over and over and over again. When the time came for the accused to be dismissed, the judge declared, “You are hereby sentenced,” and he read out the total term that is to be served. And with the pounding of the gavel, it is done. Two guards come over, put him in handcuffs, and drag him away.
Now, church, that’s a man’s court. I was a little bit nervous and frightened by it. But that court does not even remotely compare to God’s court. And Jesus says here, “If you have ever simply said to someone, ‘moron,’ you will stand before the Great White Throne, before the presence of One before whom the sky and the earth fly away, you will stand before Him and books will be opened, and you will give an account.”
Charges will be read and a judgment will be pronounced. And it won’t be human guards that drag you out. It will be angels that take you to your place for something, in your minds, as simple as saying, “moron.”
How can we ever get out of such a sentence? If the standard of righteousness is so high and all have failed to reach it over and over again, how can we escape? The good news is that in Jesus Christ the life that you and I were supposed to live, He lived it. The righteousness that you and I are supposed to have, He has it. The death that you and I were supposed to die, He died that death.
And if you would acknowledge your sin before God, if you would be reconciled to the Lord... that is, if you would come to Him and honestly pursue reconciliation and a balancing of the books in which you are willing to hear what He has to say about your life and not your own justification, not your own excuses for why everything that you did which you knew was wrong, but you justified it – if you would just come to him in humility and say, “God, I have sinned. I am sorry. I am actively pursuing to be granted reconciliation from you,” God would say to you, “You’ve got it! It’s not that I’m letting you off the hook. I still demand a payment for the crimes committed. But the good news is that you don’t have to pay that price. The judgment that you deserve I will put it upon Jesus Christ.”
If you want to be reconciled, first be reconciled with God.
God promises that if you will repent of your sins, and be a law-breaker no more, you can go to heaven and bypass that entire court that is waiting at the end of time.
David is a man that underwent a lot of hostility. Scripture says that he was a man after God’s own heart. Here’s a guy that’s a shepherd boy. He loves God’s people. He wants to serve God’s people. God looks at David and says, “Here’s a guy after my own heart.” God chooses David to be king of Israel. The only problem is that at the time David is anointed King of Israel, there’s already this other guy serving as King. His name is Saul. Now, the king is the law, so from Saul’s perspective David has no business being anointed King, so Saul aggressively pursues after David seeking to kill him.
After it’s all said and done, David would not take matters into his own hand. Even in self-defense, he does not kill Saul. He continues to entrust himself into the hands of God. He respects that there are certain boundaries that a man may not cross. When God delivers David from Saul, as David becomes King, he is still seeking with this family that is devastated by the consequences of their actions. David says in 2 Samuel 9:1 – David would not take vengeance into his own hands, and would repeatedly seek to reconcile with Saul.
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (ESV)
Now King’s don’t typically preserve alive the descendents of a rival monarchy. That’s just not good politics. But David’s perspective is you don’t cross the ancient boundary, but more than this, he has a desire to reconcile with his family. “Is there somebody I can show kindness to? Is there somebody that I can bless?”
And the Son of David says the same thing. Church, where are you at in reconciling with those who have grievances?
Let’s bow for a word of prayer.
The Gospel of Matthew is a story about a once and coming King. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David, the long awaited for Messiah. He has come once, and Matthew tells the story of His arrival, ministry, sacrificial atoning work on the cross, and His promise to return soon.