Hello syndicated :)
Mat 5:22 Yet I am saying to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to the judging. Yet whoever may be saying to his brother, 'Raka!' shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. Yet whoever may be saying, 'Stupid!' shall be liable to the Gehenna of fire.
Mat 5:23 If, then, you should be offering your approach present on the altar, and there you should be reminded that your brother has anything against you,
Mat 5:24 leave your approach present there, in front of the altar, and go away. First be placated toward your brother, and then, coming, be offering your approach present.
Mat 5:25 You be humoring your plaintiff quickly while you are with him on the way, lest at some time the plaintiff may be giving you up to the judge, and the judge to the deputy, and you should be cast into jail.
Mat 5:26 Verily I am saying to you, By no means may you be coming out thence till you should be paying the last quadrans.
What I see is Jesus speaking before his death of just how strict the law of God is, giving the true understanding of it if it were to be applied the way God intended.
The penalty for being angry, for calling someone Raka, and Stupid, are all different. Interestingly, the last penalty is the harshest. It isn't being thrown into any Christian hell, but into Gehenna, which was a literal place where criminals and trash were burned on the south side of Jerusalem. No Jew would want to be put to death and end up there.
And yes, before the cross, God's acceptance of you in terms of forgiveness was based on how forgiving you were of others. Not very hopeful at all. So anyone put in jail, a literal one that existed back then, would indeed pay every cent before being released.
Thank God we are on the other side of the cross, where God has freely forgiven us, even while we were unforgiving. These teachings of Christ what they were supposed to, drive people to hopelessness so that they could only look to him for what they could not do themselves.
Hope that makes sense. :)