Sunday, October 12, 2008

Man of Perfect Understanding

When Jesus taught his disciples, he didn't teach as the scribes who quoted scripture, but "as one that had authority." When he taught, he expounded the law taking it down to its core meaning and intention. Thus, many of his teachings were radical compared to what the Jews had been used to. One such teaching in the Sermon on the Mount expounded upon the definition of adultery. According to tradition, women were considered at fault in the committing of adultery. However, Christ taught that "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt. 5:28)."

When I first read that verse, I thought it was a little harsh and felt bad for the man who should be brought under condemnation so easily and I wondered why a similar saying shouldn't refer to the woman who might look on a man to lust after him. But, when my New Testament teacher explained the cultural view of adultry at that time, I undertood better the meaning of Jesus' words. According to Christ, women were not to be blamed for adultry; they were not to be considered the temptresses that they had traditionally been viewed as. True, in some cases women do act as temptresses, however, Christ's teaching offers a better understanding of the general situation.

This to me is a great example of Jesus as the perfect judge. He understands everything so completely and therefore can offer a perfect judgement. We being imperfect are often unable to judge a situation or person because we cannot see the entire situation; we lack the perfect understanding needed to judge well and often when we do judge we judge poorly because of our lack of information. Hence the warning in Matt. 7:1-2, "Judge not that ye be not judged.." I am grateful for a Savior who understands me and is merciful in his judgement. He knows the intentions of my heart and judges accordingly. Because of his mercy, it would be ungrateful of me to deny others that same mercy in my judgements. So, to all, the benefit of the doubt!

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