On Matthew 5

Big Takeaway

Jesus shows us that the only way to combat oppression and injustice is by utilizing creative non violent resistance. Rather than being led by our anger and frustration, or pressure and provocation we must be led by our desire to reflect God's generous love.

On Loving Your Enemies

"When they mocked him, he didn't respond. When they challenged him, he told quizzical, sometimes humorous, stories that forced them to think differently. When they struck him, he took the pain. When they put the worst bit of Roman equipment on his back - the heavy cross-piece on which eh would be killed - he carried it out of the city to the place of his own execution. When they nailed him to the cross, he prayed for them." - N.T. Wright

  • The Jews were not chosen to be God's special people while the rest of the world remains in the dark, instead they were chosen to bring others into the light. They were chosen to be light.
  • The Old Testament taught that it was better to have an eye for an eye than for feuds to escalate, however Jesus goes a step further: no vengeance, using your creativity to resolve issues thus reflecting God's deepest nature of overflowing love.
  • To be struck on the right cheek almost certainly meant being struck with the back of the right hand. That is an insult that implied that you are inferior to the person (i.e. in that society - slave, child, woman). To offer the other (left) cheek implies: hit me again if you'd like but this time as an equal.
  • If you are being sued give both your shirt and cloak (most people only wore those two garments) and shame him with your nakedness. Show the rich, powerful, and careless what they are doing: reducing the poor to a state of shame.
  • Roman soldiers had the right to force civilians to carry their equipment for one mile but it strictly forbade them to make someone go further than that. Jesus asks us to go a second mile, astonish and alarm the soldier.