I am honored to be published over at Relevant Online Magazine today with an exploration of Matthew 5:48.
“Be perfect, or you’re a failure.” — Jesus
OK, obviously, Jesus never said this.
We know Jesus; we understand that He is God wrapped in flesh, kind and ever-loving. And yet, we often become paralyzed at the mention of one short verse in which we assume Jesus says just that: Matthew 5:48. It reads, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How many times have we heard this? How many times have we wilted in defeat, knowing we will never reach this level of God-like perfection? And why would we think we should be able to achieve this? We have heard it preached all our lives: We are a fallen people. We are nothing without Jesus and can do nothing apart from God.
So, what exactly did Jesus mean? He, of course, knew that humanity is unable to be perfect as God is perfect because He is, you know, God.
Jesus understood, even as He uttered these words, that perfection is impossible for human beings.
This realization brings about the next natural question: Why would Jesus command us to be perfect when He knew it was impossible?