Well, today we ventured into another deep hole of wonder. I'm not sure what's going on here in this one, but I'm certain Jesus is trying to develop a new way of thinking about the Kingdom of God.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
I'm not sure if you've had a chance to see how controversial this work is. Jesus is asking those interested in the Kingdom to stop senseless retaliation, and look at the way to make peace. This section has been used in the non-violent resistance camps since the civil rights movement of the 60's, showing that you can give someone what they want, and still make them out to look like the bad guy.
For example, when He says, "If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles," the west sees this as humble giving to someone in need. A Jewish citizen of Jesus' day would have interpreted that section as when the Roman army would ask an innocent Jewish bystander to carry his equipment, by law, the citizen was required to carry it a mile. But if the citizen would carry it a step beyond a mile, the law would actually force the Roman soldier to pay for a crime.
In other words, Jesus isn't talking about taking up a humble "poor me" attitude. He's actually asking the followers of God's kingdom to be counter cultural and give the oppressor the opportunity to do right. Show them how the shackles of injustice work by taking their own line of thinking to the edge of their own understanding of right and wrong!
This morning in the barn there were several who thought this was absolutely crazy, but hey; so did the people of Jesus day. We're in good company when we investigate the historiography of the Bible along with the sermons. To just read it might lead one to think Christians are just simple, stupid, senseless people; but actually, we are called to bring the salt and light to the world.
There's a LOT more to come. Up next, LOVE YOUR ENEMY?? This ain't your momma's lesson anymore.