Matthew's Book Leader Notes - Session 7
Matthew 5:33-37 I think of pirates when I read this passage. Pirates (at least in the movies) were notorious for keeping their oaths in a way that benefited them. For example, if a pirate promised to set you free, he could dump you in the middle of the ocean and still say that he had kept his word. Pirates have no integrity and so you can never trust them (consider that a free bit of wisdom to live by).
In these verses, Jesus challenges the issue of integrity (or lack of it) by addressing the common practice of making oaths. An oath is a promise to do something based on the value of something else. Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “I swear on my mother’s grave that I will…” The problem with oaths is that they are only necessary when the person making the promise is not trustworthy on their own. They don’t have the integrity that creates trust in their word.
Jesus is calling us to live lives of such integrity that people do not doubt that we will do what we say we will do. In a world that is so severely lacking integrity, this is a very practical way to be salt and light (session 3) for Jesus to those around us.