Matthew 5:27-30 The Heart Of Adultery.
It is interesting that Jesus began these discourses on what has been called the second table of the law, namely that which is more directed to our neighbour than to God per se. However, he does not start with the fifth commandment, namely directed to one’s relationship to one’s parents, but he began with murder. This has led many to suggest that the fifth commandment really has it’s emphasis on parents being our first and primary mediators between God and us, his ministers on our behalf. As such, they are regarded as the first line of authority under God, and so it is grouped with the first four commands which primarily focus on our relationship to the LORD. In any case, Jesus did begin with the sixth and now moves to the seventh, which can be found at Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18 (v. 27 Cf. Col. 3:5).
This continues Jesus argument that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to in fact fulfill them. Lest anyone view the Prophets as strictly being foretellers here, their primary work was in fact forth-telling, that is they were preachers of both gospel and law. Jesus was simply reiterating what he had said all along through the Prophets. There has always been the emphasis on the internal and sincere application of the law as Jesus here teaches. Just as the outward sign of circumcision was to reflect a circumcision of the heart, even so the outward keeping of the whole of the law has always had this internal requirement or goal. Therefore, to lust after another person in one’s heart, was to commit adultery with them in one’s heart, and the LORD sees the heart (v. 28 Cf. I Sam. 16:7).
At verse 29 it is important to review some basic hermeneutics, or the discipline of biblical interpretation (Cf. Mk. 9:43). When Jesus therefore says that it would be better to pluck one’s eye out than to commit adultery, he is obviously using hyperbole. To interpret this literally is to interpret it as hyperbole. If ever the world were to follow through with the actual act of gouging out one’s eyes, the world would be full of nothing but blind people with no right hands. However, this is how serious we are to take this command, something we all surely must admit we do not elevate to this level all the time. The right hand is often used to symbolize that which is a person’s skill in fulfilling the cultural mandate, and in fact Jesus is said to rule at the Father’s right hand (v. 30 Cf. Ps. 110; Heb.1:1-4). Therefore, adultery also reduces one to poverty (Pr. 6:23-26).