Sermon on the Mount and Last Word

[written 3/6/20]

Do not let your hearts be trouble Passion of the Christ

Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. (Matthew 5:22)

Now, injustice naturally makes us human beings angry. If we saw an injustice, and didn’t get angry about it, that would indicate that our souls have fallen into a nearly lifeless state.

Also: the world abounds with injustice. It’s a fallen world. Some people try to act as if we live on some dream planet, where everything is hunky dory and nice. And when they carry on like that, it’s enough to make a person angry.

So, are we totally stuck? On the one hand: Reality, dripping with injustices, each of which make any healthy human soul angry. On the other hand, the incarnate Son of God saying: ‘You’re liable to judgment for harboring anger against your brother in your heart.’

How can we resolve this? There’s only one way.

His countrymen convicted Him of blasphemy. The colonial governor wrongly condemned Him to death, knowing full well that the sentence did not fit the situation at all. The soldiers brutalized Him mercilessly. They stretched out His arms and nailed Him on the cross to die. Nothing more wrong, nothing more unjust has every happened.

He said…

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.

Now, only God knows the full contours of the vision of reality that the Lord Jesus had in His mind when He said that. We can say this much about what He hand in His mind: He knew that He offered Himself as a perfectly innocent victim of the injustice of the world, in order to reconcile the sinful human race with our Maker. In order to bring about peace between heaven and earth. To reconcile the cosmos, and bring everything back into harmony.

He alone can give us our own little share in that vision of total reconciliation. When He does give us that insight, by the power of His grace, then we forget our quarrels. We take steps to restore relationships. We live as humble participants in the much-bigger reality. That is, the reality of Jesus Christ saving us sinners from everlasting sin.

We all have that in common, the mystery of salvation. And it looms much larger than the little beefs we have among ourselves.

We can’t escape the judgment we deserve for falling into unjust anger over the injustices we witness and suffer. We can’t do that on our own. Without a share in the mystery of the mind of Christ on the cross, it’s hopeless.

But: With Christ crucified, we can. We can learn to forgive. We can find the path to peace with any fellow sinner.

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