Jesus’ Six Examples of Surpassing Righteousness in Matthew 5

In my message at Eastbrook this past weekend, “Real Righteousness,” I utilized a chart that helped show how Jesus’ teaching on “righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law” (Matthew 5:20) is worked out in six examples. I’m including that chart here for those who asked to see it.

Again, Jesus is not replacing the Law but offering a teaching that fulfills the Law and surpasses the deficient righteousness of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (see “Contrasting Forms of Righteousness in Matthew 5: how Jesus’ way is different from that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law”). This is a righteousness that comes from inner transformation by God that leads to outer transformation of life with others. It is grace from start to finish, but we must let grace have its way in us. Understanding this righteousness is the key to what Jesus outlines in the rest of the chapter.

Theme & text“You have heard it was said…”“But I say to you…”
Murder & Anger
(5:21-26)
Don’t murderDon’t be angry toward others; instead seek reconciliation
Adultery & Lust
(5:27-30)
Don’t have sexual intercourse outside of marriageDon’t look at others with lust in your heart
Divorce
(5:31-32)
If divorcing, give the necessary certificateDon’t divorce in this way
Oaths & Vows
(5:33-37)
Don’t break oaths or vows used to convince othersDon’t use oaths or vows at all; just speak the truth about things
Retaliation
(5:38-42)
Repay injuries on par with what has been inflicted (lex talionis)Instead of harm, help the one who inflicts harm on you
Love for Enemies (5:43-48)Love neighbors and hate enemiesLove and pray for your enemies