But Simon what about this? “19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
It is important therefore to understand the context of this statement. What are these commands? Let me share with you it is not the Law, but rather verse 20 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
How do have a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees?
The answer lies at the end of the Sermon. It is not offering your right cheek, not just stop looking at women lustfully or not even by not calling a brother “Raca” but this in verses 33 “Seeking the righteousness of God”.
Paul speaks about this in Romans 3:20-22.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law;rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Notice Paul says 3 things here:
a) God has a righteousness.
b) It is apart from the Law. Nothing to do with the Law.
c) It is a gift.
Now look at Matthew 5 again. The righteousness of the Pharisees here is the righteousness that come from the Law. The righteousness Jesus ask you to look for is the righteousness that comes from the Father.
Now look at the next statement Jesus makes after verse 33 of Matthew 6, he says these words as he concluded the Sermon on the Mount, ”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Notice the righteousness of his Father is a gift?