Today’s reading from Matthew talks about handling cases of abuse and other wrongdoing among the followers of Jesus. It in Jesus is saying that it’s okay to apply the Law of Moses to resolve disputes, but that the assembly of believers has final authority to judge the matter.
For the early Jewish Christians this teaching liberated them from the authority of the Council (the Sanhedrin) establishing the rag-tag group of disciples headed by Peter as an autonomous “church,” and promising divine ratification of its judgments. In our own day, we must remember that justice is not finished until it achieves reconciliation.
Christ paid the just penalty for sin when he died on the cross, but the work of reconciliation continues. Our primary task as Christians is not to punish the wicked, but to seek reconciliation and healing from the effects of sin.
Preached by the Rev. Jake Dell on September 10, 2017 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.