Saturday, 10 April 2021
And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. - Matthew 5:41
The teachings of Jesus from Matthew 5-7 titled, ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ are radical principles when compared to what the Jews had interpreted out of the Law of Moses. Rather than seeing a particular law from the periphery, Jesus goes deep into its root and exposes its very intention. Jesus Christ came not just to save us from our sin, but also to change the condition of our hearts.
The Jews at that time harboured a deep sense of enmity towards the Romans, who were ruling them. The law permitted a Roman soldier to ask a Jew to carry his armour for one mile – imagine carrying the heavy load of someone whom you hate! Jesus takes this as an example and tells them to deal with the revengeful attitude in our hearts – if a soldier asks you to walk one mile, then go the extra mile. Our reading today deals with the condition of our heart!
We are always concerned about the evil actions of people but have not thought about the origin of it. When Jesus looks, He immediately sees the evil intentions behind every wrong action. If we look closely Jesus is pointing His finger to the very seat of all sin that is the evil heart. Unless this is dealt with, nothing is going to be made perfect. For example: ‘Do not commit adultery’, does not pertain to actions only but to the very intentions also (Matthew 5:27-28). So when Jesus tells us to “pluck the eye out” or “cut the hand”- the organs that caused one to sin, He meant to deal with sin with all its seriousness that it would not let us land in hell.
The only way to deal with sin in this manner is to nip it in the bud! To kill it at the very seat of evil, that is in the heart. That is what happened on the cross of Calvary. Jesus represented the whole humanity while He was lying on the cross. He purchased our pardon and destroyed sin and old self on the cross. His death on the cross brought the victory over the old Adamic nature, at the centre of the evil practices that we see in everyday life. The indwelling Spirit of God, guides one from the very heart where sin and self once reigned (Romans 8).
Those who are made new in Christ can now operate in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide his actions. Hence he no longer operates on the principle of “an eye for an eye” or “a tooth for a tooth” but allows the mercy and grace he received from God to be operational in his actions. So as a child of God, he learns to “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile” when other peoples’ actions demanded “giving it back in the same coin!” He no longer pays back insult for insult or takes revenge; instead he lets the love of Christ in Him reciprocate better deeds in return. This is the Law of love Jesus endorsed when he said: “… 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...” (Matt.5: 44-45)
Dear brethren, if we have allowed our old self to die with Christ Jesus on the cross and we can live purposeful lives in the power of Holy Spirit! That’s the everyday challenge for every Christian!
Thought for the Day: Holiness consists of three things - separation from sin, dedication to God, transformation into Christ's image. It is in vain that we talk about the last, unless we know something experimentally about the first.~ James H. Aughey