Matthew 5:21-26

Jesus teaches about angry people

21 Jesus then said, ‘You know the rule that God gave to your ancestors: “You must not kill anyone. Any person who does kill someone will stand in front of a judge. The judge will punish him because he has done a wrong thing.” 22 But what I now say to you is this: Anybody who is angry with his brother will have to stand in front of a judge. Or someone might call his brother by a bad name. Then he will have to stand in front of the Jewish leaders. They will judge him. But someone may say to his brother, “You are a fool.” God will judge that person. God may punish him in the fires of hell.

5:21At the time when Jesus said this, there were 71 important rulers in Jerusalem. And they met together to judge a bad person. The leader of the priests was their leader. These men had great power. God is the most powerful judge. Only he can send a person to hell.
5:22When Jesus used the word brother, he was also talking about any close friend.

23 Maybe you go to God's Great House to give your gift to God. You take it to the altar. But then you remember that your brother is angry with you. 24 You must leave your gift there in front of God's altar. First you must go and find your brother. Tell him that you are sorry. Then you can both become friends with each other again. After that, you can return to the altar and give your gift to God.

25 Also, somebody may say that you have done something wrong against him. He may take you to stand in front of the judge. You should quickly try to agree with this person. Decide with him how to make things right again. Do this even while you are going with him to the judge. If you do not do that, the judge may agree that you have done a wrong thing. Then he will give you to his officer. His officer will put you in prison. 26 I tell you this: You will remain in prison until you have paid all the money, even the last small coin.’

5:25A judge listens to what people say against each other. He then decides who is right or wrong. Jesus is telling the people that everyone has done wrong things to God. They do not obey him in the way that they should. Jesus says that we should believe in him now. If we do not, then God will judge us. And he will punish us when we stand in front of him.