Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Matthew 5:38-42 (21.02.19)

Matthew 5:38-42 NIVUK
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.

These sayings can easily parodied to suggest that following Jesus means to become weak, allowing yourself to become pushed around by others. But this misses the mark completely! To me Jesus appears to be saying don’t strike back but at the same time don’t surrender your freedom, instead use it to creatively show up such unjust actions against you for what they are. Forcing someone to slap you on the left cheek forced them to treat you as an equal. Handing over your coat as well as your shirt left you naked, bringing shame on the one suing you. A Roman soldier by Roman Law could force you to carry his pack for a mile, but two would get them in trouble.

Father, help us to use our freedom to stand up for the oppressed and against injustice, rather than surrendering it or using it purely for our own benefit.

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