Lose your Life



A small excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus brings up a section of the law which he is about overturn on his own authority.  The Mosaic system of justice was very much eye for an eye.  The Jewish society was run by a law of retribution, not by individuals but by judges and society as a whole.  
 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  Some of the most difficult teaching of Jesus.  We know He is about grace and mercy, but we still get uncomfortable about passages like this.  Everything in our human nature cries out for retaliation when someone does us wrong.  But, if we follow Christ, we are not to seek this justice for ourselves.  Jesus actually modeled this during his arrest scene – “When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”” John‬ ‭18:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  This is about meekness and gentleness, not about literally offering your other cheek to be struck as well.  When He was struck by the officer, Jesus did not fight back or justify himself He did not seek retribution as the ancient laws said he had a right to.  He also did not literally go out of his way to get punched in the other cheek, but remained dignified under duress, and was willing to take another blow rather than return violence with violence.
And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.   This refers to Exodus 22, the tunic is the inner coat.  It was outlawed in Exodus to take outer, warmer coat as payment for a debt.  Clearly the point here continues the theme that we must repay evil with good, if someone is so materialistic and into taking our “things,” well then give them our “things.”

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.   The first part refers to laws of the time where the military could, on the spot, draft you into immediate service and force to carry their gear for a mile, actually provide horse and carriage if required, as well give personal attendance to their needs.  This was often a great inconvenience, and what Jesus tells us here is that we should be ready to submit to unreasonable demands of just about any kind, rather than fight their unreasonable demands and fall into all the personal evils that fall from demanding our own rights.  The second part here is a call to be overly generous with those around us who come to us with needs which we DO have the ability to fill.  We are to be generous with those who ask us for help, even when it is not easy or convenient for us to do so.  When we’d rather just stay home, watch tv, and relax.  Especially when we don’t feel like it.  Remember, following Christ means giving up our lives as we knew them – “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
‭Luke‬ ‭17:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:38-42‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.5.38-42.esv
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3 thoughts on “Lose your Life

  1. Excellent reminder. I’ve thought of these scriptures often during this political season in America. For example, I’ve wondered how many Christians have thought to love and pray for terrorists and ISIS? I’ve wondered how many have wondered about solutions to the underlying socio-economic problems leading to such perverted beliefs? I fear most Christians prefer revenge, death and destruction. The Trump “bomb the s–t out of ISIS” to a deafening roar from the crowd.

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    1. My pastor actually had a sermon series on that very subject recently, even though I was not thinking along those lines in writing this post. I really like the correlation though. I’m guessing the answer is not very many of us pray for people caught up in ISIS. It’s funny you bring up Trump, I intentionally leave politics out of my blog. But I will comment regarding “The Donald.” It’s one thing for a political party to get caught up political hype, that’s what they do. But it’s very disappointing to see so many evangelicals not just getting caught up in the hype, but jumping fully on board and fueling the machine. Trump has not been a friend to Christians in the past, nor do I anticipate he will be in the future. I’m all for repenting of sin and coming to Christ. How many people really believe that’s what happened in Trumps case. I’m not the one to judge his sincerity on some of his “position changes”, but I certainly reserve the right to be skeptical enough to express disappointment in Christian “leaders” who have openly endorsed him for president.

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      1. Oh, I’ve not held back in my criticism of Trump or the “evangelical” support of him. I’ve posted a couple of articles where I lay out Christian characteristics and discuss how “conservatives” have not been living up to biblical principles. I have no trouble being skeptical about Trump and his supposed faith. When you listen to his rhetoric and positions, they are opposite from Christ in so many ways. It’s a great tragedy. And yes I completely lost respect for Carson, and I initially thought he had the most integrity of the lot.

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