You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit Adultery; and we know the next one? You shall not steal.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5 v 33-37)
So why doesn’t Jesus speak about stealing?
He does, this is it, but it is stealing with words. He is following an order that is seen elsewhere, in Jeremiah 7: 9 when God is telling His people He knows exactly what is going on and sees through their falseness, “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely …”
A BBC report today says that scamming someone out of money by pretending to want a relationship has been on the rise during lockdown. It reports of a terrible story where one widow in her 50s was defrauded of £320,000 by a simple, but evil, false talk.
These are extreme but real situations of perjury.
Also today the headlines of newspapers are pretty much all saying the same thing- 10 days quarantining after entering the UK or if you lie about where you have flown in from then it’s 10 years in a cell! I swear on my mother’s grave!
What about the times when you want to say yes or no but you know it is going to be really difficult to do so? Have you ever been tempted to make up a story to go along with your NO because you want to let someone down gently?
The heart of the Sermon of Jesus on that mountainside was hypocrisy. That was his main target when speaking to the Pharisees throughout the gospel. They were constantly pulling the wool over people’s eyes. It seems that the religious would make great promises that they had no intention of keeping. Jesus is not saying that oaths should never be made. He has just spoken about the sanctity of marriage and divorce. But he is telling his disciples in the hearing of the crowd not to be fooled by elaborate words and promises and indeed not to make them.