Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Having recast several key commandments in relational terms, Jesus now turns to three religious practices–almsgiving, prayer and fasting—that had been turned into self-serving rituals by the Jewish religious leaders. Christ warns them that to perform these works to impress men automatically disqualifies them before God. The Law commanded God’s people to give the first tenth […]

Transactional religion takes a command like “Love your neighbor,” and infers that the opposite, “Hate your enemy,” must also be true. So the Jewish leaders disdained the Romans, the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and the tax collectors. Their lives overflowed with contempt and they believed God’s Law justified their hatred. Again, Jesus draws a stark contrast […]

Jesus has addressed murder, adultery, divorce and oaths. Now he will reframe the law about retribution in relational terms. The Mosaic Law stated that the punishment should not exceed the offense. Before the Law, revenge was often brutal and disproportionate, resulting in blood feuds that could consume families for generations. “An eye for an eye” […]