Legal Advice?

Read: Matthew 5:17-26

Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. (v. 26)

Jesus had just introduced the Sermon on the Mount. Beautiful words that were radical then and are radical now: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:3-5).

I wonder what the people there thought that day. With Roman boots on their necks and Roman tax collectors in their purses, no doubt they did feel poor, mournful, and meek. But blessed? I’m guessing not so much.

And then, the tone of the sermon changes. Jesus begins to talk about real world issues: the Law, lust, anger, murder, and . . . lawsuits? Is Jesus giving legal advice? “Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court” (v. 25). What exactly is he talking about? How many times have you heard the exact opposite—one person threatening to sue another? “I’ll see you in court!”

In fact, Jesus is saying, “I’ll see you in court.” Not a court of law, but the court of judgment. A court in which we will all appear one day. In this verse Jesus is speaking metaphorically. He is saying that unless your heart is contrite, and unless your mind is open to reconciliation, you will never have enough spiritual currency on that day when you stand before your eternal Judge.

As you pray, ask the Lord for a heart of forgiveness and reconciliation.

About the Author

Lou Bury is the pastor at Downers Grove Community Church in Illinois. He has the pleasure of serving the Lord alongside a congregation committed to being “the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.” He and his wife Judy have two adult children and two granddogs.

This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series Truly, Truly: Paying Attention to Jesus