After saying that he has come to fulfill the law, Jesus begins to interpret and apply the law to the hearts and lives of his hearers. Immediately it becomes evident that God is more concerned with our inward purity of heart than our outward behaviors. The disciples of Jesus must not be filled with personal anger, but instead be peacemakers, seeking reconciliation with their brother.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus answers the criticism that he is abolishing the law. Jesus’ life is misunderstood by the ‘righteous’ of his day as he lives in perfect obedience to the will and law of God. Jesus not only redefines their understanding of the law, he calls them to a higher standard of righteousness.
It is only when we know what we are created for that we can then fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Jesus uses two metaphors (salt and light) to present a picture of how his disciples must live and the effects their lives will have on the world.
It is an incredible irony that God’s people are called to be peacemakers yet, they will be persecuted. But our persecution for righteousness sake is far exceeded in scope by God’s promise of eternal reward in heaven. Will we believe God sees and rewards?