Sermon Summary, October 28, 2018: Oh, and one more thing...
Sermon Summary    October 28, 2018
Thy Kin-dom Come: Radical Justice: “Oh, and one more thing…”

Matthew 5: 38 - 48

Mark Twain once said this about the Bible: “I have no problem with those parts of the Bible I don’t understand. It’s those parts of the Bible I do understand that gives me fits.”

The message of Jesus is a counter-cultural message. This passage, from the Sermon on the Mount, reminds us that if we are to truly follow Jesus and be a Christian, we may have to give up some of what we have come to know as our “rights”. 

The first rule or “right” that Jesus talks about in this text is the “eye for an eye” law of just retribution. This is found three times in the Pentateuch, as well as in the ancient Law Code of Hammurabbi. This was accepted so feuds and disagreements did not escalate. The loss of an eye could only be appeased by the loss of the other’s eye. Nothing more nothing less. No distinctions of wealth or class, an eye is an eye and a tooth is a tooth.

Jesus also says, “Don’t resist an evil person.” Instead of resisting, instead of seeking some sort of legal recourse, Jesus tells his listeners to turn the other cheek. This seems startling. Turning the other cheek may not be a defensive, counter attack action, but it still is a definitive action. If you turn your other cheek, you take away the same slap from your aggressor, yet you remain right in front of him.

The same type of spirit is found in the other two directives of Giving up one’s cloak and tunic, and going the extra mile. In both instances, Jesus encourages folks to go beyond the original request to voluntarily do something more. This takes the power back from the oppressor, and encourages one to exercise free choice which is beyond what one was asked to do. The shame then falls on an oppressor who would leave one naked, literally without the shirt on one’s back, or require a citizen to do more work than was allowed by law. And then, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. This sets up apart from any other religion.

OH, and one more thing, lest you think Jesus asks something of us that he would not do himself…consider with me how his crucifixion reflects all of these principles. He would not/did not

*Practice retributive justice of eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life.

*He did not resist evil people

*He was slapped around and turned the other cheek.

*He gave up his clothes

*A Roman soldier conscripted work from a citizen to carry his cross

*He modeled his love for enemies, prayed for those who persecuted him form the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

What a Lord we serve! To God be the glory!