Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This week's lesson: Christ and the Law in the Sermon on the Mount

You can learn a lot with just two words: "Cui bono" (i.e. "Who benefits?").
  • You don't understand why the Zoning Commission okayed a new shopping mall in your neighborhood? Start with the question, "Cui bono?" 
  • You're a detective trying to figure out who shot a man the day after he signed up for a million-dollars in life insurance? The obvious question: "Cui bono?"
  • And if you're wondering why some people focus on the half-dozen texts that condemn homosexuality, but ignore the half-dozen texts that condemn charging interest on loans . . . 
Then it's worth remembering that we all look at the Bible through the lens of self-interest.

Yes, we all pick and choose the texts that make us look good.

We all ignore the texts that make us uncomfortable.

And we all find a way to redefine those uncomfortable texts that can't be ignored. Yes, we tell ourselves that:
  • We only "borrowed" the money.
  • We only "shaded" the truth.
  • And it's not really wrong if we were "just looking."
What's more, we may even convince ourselves that all these things are true!
But in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus invites us to ask, "Cui bono?" -- who benefits from our reading of Scripture? 
And if the answer is always "ourselves" -- if we consistently read the Bible in a way that makes life easier for us (and more difficult for others) -- then Jesus has another phrase for us: "Caveat emptor."
Let the buyer beware.

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