Matthew 5 – Anger without a Just Cause & Reconciliation

MATT 5:21-26    LUKE 12:57-59


MATT 5:21 – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

[Thou shalt not kill] – Quoted from Exodus 20:13 & Deuteronomy 5:17.  This means, “Do not murder another man”.  There is a difference between accidently killing someone and murder.  It does not mean that a person MUST die if they ACCIDENTLY killed a man with absolutely no intent (Deut 19:5).  That kind of man is “not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past” (Deut 19:6).

[whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment] – Maybe paraphrased from Numbers 35:31.



MATT 5:22 – But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

[angry with his brother without a cause] – You can be angry and not sin (Eph 4:26).  “Without a cause” should say, “without a good cause”.  A good example of this is Cain & Able (Gen 4:1-8).  Cain’s cause for being angry at his brother Able was because Able’s sacrifice was accepted and his wasn’t.  That was the reason he was angry, but it wasn’t a good reason; Able did nothing wrong to Cain.  Another example is the parable of the boss who hired workers for a penny a day (Matt 20:1-16).  Some worked all day, some worked for an hour, but they all got the same pay.  If the workers who worked all day were angry at the workers for getting a penny, that would be an example of being angry at their brother for no good reason.  Also see the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.  In all cases, anyone who hates or is angry with his brother also hates God (1Jn 4:20-21).

[the judgment] – G2920 = condemnation.

[Raca] – G4469 = empty, senseless, empty headed man; a term of reproach used among the Jews.

[the council] – The jury.  One day, we will all stand before God (Rom 14:10).

[but] – G1161 = but, and, now, then, also, yet, yea, so, moreover.  This should be translated AND, because these 3 ideas are the same: if you’re angry at your brother for no reason you’ll go to Hell.

[Thou fool] – G3474 = probably from the base of G3466; dull or stupid (as if shut up), heedless, (morally) blockhead, absurd, foolish, fool, foolishness, impious, or godless.  Jesus called the Pharisees fools (Matt 23:17, Matt 23:19, & Luke 11:40).  God calls people fools (Luke 12:20).  Jesus also called His own disciples fools too (Luke 24:25), but the word He used was G0453 = a derivative of G3539; unintelligent; by implication, sensual, unwise, foolish, fool, unwise; not understood, unintelligible, not understanding, unwise, or foolish.  If Jesus called people fools, then what did He really mean by telling us not to?  In context with His life and these 3 statements, what He meant was: Do not call YOUR BROTHER an idiot (maybe without a just cause).  Jesus did not count the Pharisees as brothers, but as children of Satan (John 8:44).  He did, however, count the disciples as His brothers (Matt 12:49 & Luke 8:21), and therefore didn’t call them idiots, like the Pharisees, but called them “not smart” and “slow”.

[hell fire] – Hell fire (Matt 18:9): Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44).



MATT 5:23 – Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

[gift] – G1435 = a present, specially, a sacrifice.  It could also include money cast into the treasury for the purposes of the temple and for the support of the poor.  The blood of bulls and goats sanctified the one sacrificing (Heb 9:13-14, Heb 9:22), which was the only way to receive forgiveness.  The idea is that a man would bring a sacrifice (gift) so that God would forgive his sins.  However, if that man hasn’t forgiven others, God won’t forgive him (Matt 6:15); therefore, forgive others to receive forgiveness.

[Thy brother hath ought against thee] – Of course, there’s no place to forgive him if he hasn’t actually done anything wrong to you, but no matter the offense, un-forgiveness separates us from God.



MATT 5:24 – Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

[Leave there thy gift] – Because if you don’t forgive people, God won’t forgive you either (Matt 6:14-15), regardless of your request.  God is willing to forgive us, but only if we forgive others (Matt 18:23-35).

[be reconciled to thy brother] – G1259 = to change thoroughly, to change the mind of anyone, to reconcile, to be reconciled, or to renew friendship with one.  Reconciliation does not mean that you ignore a problem with someone, but that you solve it.  After all, if you ignore a problem it will just come back again.  God does not ignore when a person wrongs Him, but He did choose to solve the problem by having Jesus die for our reconciliation (Eph 2:16, Col 1:20, & 2Cor 5:18-19).  Jesus told us to love each other as He loved us (John 13:34).  What I’m saying is that we should make every effort to make things right with our brothers, even to the extent that it leads us to the cross like Jesus.  In the event that he won’t listen to you, take two or three people with you to reason with him.  If that doesn’t work, tell the church.  If he doesn’t hear them, then you are free to offer your gift to God (Matt 18:15-20).

[and then come and offer thy gift] – Only after you’ve attempted sincere reconciliation as described by Matthew 18:15-20 will the gift be accepted.



MATT 5:25 – Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.  {Similar to Luke 12:58}

[Agree with thine adversary] – Come to an agreement with your opponent; not necessarily agree with all of his terms.  Coming to an agreement would avoid you having to “pay the last penny” (Matt 5:26).  The previous verse is in the event that someone has done wrong to you.  This is in the event that you have done wrong to someone else who then becomes your adversary.

[in the way with him] – While he’s taking you to court for the wrong you’ve done to him.

[quickly] – If we should come to an agreement quickly with an opponent, how much more quickly should we come to an agreement with our own brother for reconciliation?



MATT 5:26 – Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.  {Similar to Luke 12:59}

[till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing] – Until you’ve paid every last penny you owed.  Like being reconciled to the brother who wrongs you, here, you must also take the initiative and you won’t end up with as great of a loss as if you did nothing at all.

Kent Owen

Author: Kent Owen

After college I lived in China for 5 years, working as an English teacher and foreign marketing manager. Now i'm an insurance salesman, but my real passion is Christ and learning the bible.

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