This week’s Scripture: Matt. 5: 17-20. 17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In Puccini’s opera, “Turandot,” any potential suitor to the Princess must answer three riddles. Answered correctly, he wins her hand in marriage. The wrong answer results in getting the axe. The first question is what is born at night and dies during the day. Calaf, the orphan boy, gets the answer (and eventually the right to marry Turandot) by correctly answering; HOPE.
The cycle of hope is similar to the outrageous road map that Jesus lays down in these verses. Even when the day’s events grind us down and convince us that there is no real foundation for hope, we find ourselves waking the next day feeling the possibility within reach.We maintain hope even in the face of little evidence.
Justice and mercy are seemingly at odds as well. How can we live in a world of law and still exercise mercy? From a philosophical level, Jesus is helping us all remember that the inherent nobility found within the human heart is rendered dissolute without a clear resolution between justice and mercy. Law given by a Divine hand must be the standard but how does the human race live up to the law that is impossible to keep? The answer is not to do away with the law but to reform the lawbreaker. To bring new life into law by the power of love.
Hanging on to our divine rights as people is a deadly prerogative. Insisting that we are noble people to the extent that we insist on having our own way is self-destructive and dissonant to society. However, serving others in the way of Jesus keeps the law and offers redemption to the one who has lost hope.Jesus said it this way, “Whoever wishes to save his life must lose it.” It’s this kind of crazy making that will redeem the world and satisfy the inherent law of our heart.