The difference between my son and I is 33 years and 2 feet. 33 years on the calendar, and 2 feet on the growth chart. Of course there are other differences, but these are the two easiest to see.
Now imagine my son trying to wear my clothes. Comical isn’t it? My golf shirts look like bed sheets on his body, though they fit me just fine. My shoes will hardly stay on his feet, but they feel just right to me. Josh may put on my clothes and pretend they are his, but any discerning eye can easily see that he does not fill them out.
I was thinking about this today as I reflected upon the Sermon on the Mount – specifically the section from Matthew 5:17-48. In these verses Jesus begins to explain what “good works” He was talking about in 5:16. In the first century, people had an awareness of the ten commandments – Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not lie, etc. In fact, the Scribes and the Pharisees had even divided and defined these commandments in such a way that they were attainable for the religiously committed. When Jesus begins to preach, though, He calls ALL (even the religious leaders) to “repent.” Repentance is necessary because Jesus knew that the righteous “clothes” God wants us to put on are actually 2 feet larger than any of us ever imagined. Though we may try in our own strength to wear God’s clothes, they simply do not fit. They drape about us like bed sheets covering our meager virtue.
There is One, however, who can truly fills out the righteousness God described in the Law. That One is Jesus. “I have come to fulfill them (the Law),” Jesus said in 5:17. He fills out the full uniform of the Law and the Prophets to show us our true moral size and to remind us of our need for Him.
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be continuing our series on the Sermon on the Mount by looking at Matthew 5:17-48 in our morning worship services (at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00). We will study these verses together and also celebrate the Lord’s supper together. I hope you can join us Sunday!