Turning to the New Testament, we see that Jesus upholds the high expectations that God the Father has always had for God’s people. Nowhere are these expectations clearer than in the Sermon on the Mount.
Notice the refrain, “You have heard that it was said… but I tell you…”
Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 38-39, 43-44
21 [Jesus said,] “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
What do you make of Jesus’ words?
Why, do you suppose, he has such high expectations for his followers?
Which of these things have you done well within your life? With which of them do you struggle?
Who can help you fulfill these commands?
Lord Jesus Christ, you have asked very much of me, far more than I have asked of myself. I am not worthy to be your follower, for I often fail to meet your expectations. Please forgive me. Remind me that the ability to accomplish these things for you comes not from within me, but from the power of your Holy Spirit. So fill me with your power once more, and with your help, I will do great things. In your name, I pray. Amen.