Week 16
So we are finishing off the section on taking oaths. Remember, thinking back to when we first began, the thrust of Jesus context revealed the Pharisees wrong interpretation of the law. If the Pharisees were extending taking oaths to the point of getting around the meaning of their agreements, this is where they were missing the point. It was not so much taking the oath was the issue…they were not keeping their oaths (not keeping their word) We know that taking oaths was not necessarily wrong, as Moses commanded the nation of Israel to “Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name” (Deut 10:20). The Apostle Paul swore frequently “As God is my witness” (Rom 1:9; 2 Cor 1:23; Phil 1:8; 1 Thess 2:5, 10). So we know that the taking of oaths was not the problem, they were using this to get around the spirit of the law. His confrontation of the Pharisees exposed they were using the letter of the law to get around the spirit of the law. Remember back to the section on lust (vs 27-30), the Pharisees were convinced they were upholding the law as long as they were not committing the physical act of adultery. Jesus exposed the fact if they could be committing adultery in their heart with someone, by merely looking at them..

36 And do not take an oath by your head for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

I’m reminded of a verse I memorized along time ago that in regards to a tree and its fruit in Matthew 12.

36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
(Mt 12:36–37).

Ok, so that’s convicting! If I had to give an accurate summary of the section on taking oaths and performing them, I would say that it is saying: watch your words, they reveal your heart, so don’t go beyond yes or no. Perform what you’ve sworn and live like you’ll have to give account for what you say…we will.