Sermon on the Mount - Anger

(Matthew 5:21-26)

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Biblical Teachings, Sermon on the Mount, Sermon on the Mount (Bible Study)

  • Jesus says, “You have heard it said, ‘you shall not kill,’ but I say anyone who gets angry with his brother is subject to judgement.”
  • The King James Version adds, “everyone who is angry without a cause,” which suggests anger with a cause is all right.
  • The best manuscripts do not have that addition.
  • Greek has several words for “angry.” This one means “a temporary madness.”
  • It is written as a present tense participle, meaning someone who is being angry. It’s the long-lived kind.
  • Effort is required to stay angry in this manner. It’s like resentment.
  • Jesus is saying that doing this is accountable to God; it’s public to God.
  • This first level of anger is one of resentment—a grudge.
  • That can escalate into the second level—name calling, words of irritation or exasperation—like “you idiot.”
  • Finally, the third level of anger explodes into telling someone off. It’s a violent attack, a curse (NLT), or calling someone worthless (CEV). “You fool” (KJV) was one of the worst things you could utter because you were saying that the person wasn’t even worthy of having honor, which was hugely important.
  • These three levels each merit a response; and the response, just like the anger, escalates.
  • First is judgment; then there is the council; and lastly, there is hell.
  • Whoever tells someone off will have to face the fire of hell.
  • But what if this happens to us? Sometimes, we do get angry.
  • Jesus gives us a way to get right again.
  • First of all, if we are on our way to worship God and there remember that our brother has something against us, we are to leave the altar at once. First, we are to go to and be reconciled to our brother.
  • All of these verbs are in the aorist—a form of the verb meaning once. Here it signifies a new pattern of behavior, a new beginning.
  • Jesus is saying that we are to serve God by serving others.
  • Our human relationships affect our relationship with God. And then, we are to go back and worship; here, worship is in the indicative, implying continuous action.
  • If we choose not to take this route and don’t resolve the issue with our brother, Jesus offers another example.
  • “Settle matters quickly with your adversary.”
  • This command also comes with a warning that if we don’t, the judge may hand us over to the officer to be thrown into prison.
  • This can be seen from two levels. It can be at the very human, physical level where we are hauled into court before a judge. But this could also be thought of in a more eternal, spiritual way. This judge is outside the human legal system.
  • This warning is severe and ends on an ominous note. The longer we choose to stay angry and not try to resolve it, the worse everything gets.

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