When God commanded Israel, ‘you shall not murder,’ they never knew the underlying message of reconciliation and peace through Jesus. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus takes it to the next level and even makes reconciliation a pre-requisite to worship…
13 “You shall not murder.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Moses brought the law of God off the mountain and told the people, ‘you shall not murder.’ They needed to be told that? What is the world coming to? We say things like that today as some young people show a complete disregard for human life in the way they behave. I guess times don’t change.
Jesus ups the ante on the murder command by talking about anger. He brings the conversation into the human interactions up-stream from murder. Before we get anywhere close to murder we walk through waters of anger and discord.
And Jesus then teaches that when we know that we are in a situation of discord with our neighbour, we ought to drop everything and make it right. His illustration? Worship. Why? Because reconciliation between ourselves is more important to God than us bringing him an offering of any kind.
In fact, our worship is tainted if our hearts are unreconciled with our neighbour.
Why? Jesus is our peace and reconciliation.
Because we find out in Ephesians 2 that Jesus is the one who, in his own flesh on the cross, broke down the dividing walls between us as people. He himself became our shalom – our peace.
And so when we go to worship our peace-giving-saviour with broken relationships, we are instructed that God wants us to make peace as a reflection of our restored relationship with him.
Do not murder…