Matthew 5:38-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. “You have heard that it was said,
‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” This expression came out of old Persia and refers to the authority given by the king to those doing his bidding. If a courier or soldier needed help in fulfilling the king’s missions, he would seize any man, horse, or wagon and no one would dare question his actions.
In Jesus’ day, any Jew could be forced away from his own doings to help a legionnaire who may or may not need help. Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear the cross of Jesus. The Jews saw this law as a foreign domination so what did they think when Jesus said, “Go with him two miles.”
I. We live in a one mile world If someone forces you– strikes you– sues you– ask you– Why is this so bothersome to not only the Jew but also the Gentile (you & me)? Because, we live in a mile world.
• A world of rights and responsibilities.
• A world of minimum standards.
• A world where punishment is the answer.
An eye for an eye– this law was to keep the rich and powerful from literally “getting away with murder.” God put this law in action to protect the defenseless. So, this makes it even more difficult to grasp and understand the words of His son, Jesus. The words of Jesus tell us to respond to evil with good. To citizens of a one-mile world, this does not compute.
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
II. We need to be a second mile people. Turn the other cheek– give your last garment– go the extra mile– love your enemies. It would be easy to say, “Well, here is really what Jesus meant by these words, and then try to explain it away because we live in a one mile world.” But, the truth is, He means exactly what He says. Let us look to the Author, (Jesus), Himself.
John 18: 22-23 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”
Matthew 21: 12-17 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’’ Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that
He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise. Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.
What does it mean to go the second mile? It means to rise above the desire to strike back, to get even with, or to settle the score. It means to meet evil with good. It means to swallow pride and think of others instead of self. It means to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. It means to live by grace when life seems unfair. Turning the other cheek is fast forgiveness. How can we be a second mile church?
What is all of this called? Unconditional Love. Why? Because this is the way God acts toward us.
Matthew 5:45 That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Romans 5:7-8 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Remember the greatest commandment. Love thy Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”
Christ loved us and went the extra miles after miles for us—all of the way to the cross. Lord, help us love our enemies. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Please help us to be more like you, Lord. We can turn this world upside down by living our life as Jesus teaches us.
God be with you,
Bro. Frank Welch