The Extra Mile

What is the principle behind “eye for eye”? What does “turning the other cheek really mean”? When someone offends you what are different ways you can retaliate/ What is the smartest way? Why?

Overview

Bible passages: Matt 5:38-42; Luke 6:29-30

Objectives

Theme Verse

Kinds of Retaliation In The Bible

Law of “Eye for an Eye” in the OT

Lessons Learnt

Discussion

Objectives

To:

  • Understand the meaning and the kinds of retaliation in the Bible
  • Draw a parallel between the law of retaliation in the OT and the NT
  • Capture the essence of Jesus’s teachings from the theme verse

 

Key Verses

Matthew 5:38 “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.

The Extra Mile?

These verses have been described by many in the following ways:

  1. The hard sayings of Jesus
  2. The most difficult verses in the Bible
  3. Hyperbole and impossible
  4. Commands for another world
  5. Greatest recorded sermon on the mount

The Extra Mile?

 

In Jesus’ day, a Roman soldier had the right to press any Israelite into carrying his pack for him up to one mile.

Jesus exhorts to:

  • Go beyond the call of duty
  • Reflect Christ’s grace to a fallen world

Turn the Other Cheek

The Greek verb here implies slapping someone in the face as an insult more than enduring physical violence [1].

The context reinterpreted conveys on most occasions:

  • Silence may actually dampen the insult
  • Retaliating is more likely to escalate it.
  • Response should be designed to bring the other person close to Christ

Give the cloak as well

  • The tunic was an inner garment. The cloak:
    • The outer garment
    • Often used by the poor to protect and provide warmth
    • Could not be taken away by OT law (Ex 22:26-27)

    In a situation where legal dispute is intended, in order to maintain peace, Jesus advises:

    • Not to fight for rights
    • To give away the cloak
    • Look to the Lord for protection and provision (Mt. 6:28-31)

     

Kinds of Retaliation in the Bible

  • Bible References: Genesis 4:23-24, Exodus 21:23-25, Romans 12:19 

Unlimited Retaliation

Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:23-24)

Lamech was clearly “over-the-top” and not of the Lord. Murder was:

  • A response to injury
  • Taken into his hands and hands of family members
  • Enhanced by his son Tubal Cain was “a maker of every cutting instrument of bronze and iron”

Limited Retaliation

The fabled “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” Exodus 21:23-25

Instituted in the Old Testament as part of:

  • The legal and judicial system of the nation Israel
  • Not meant as personal retaliation but a civil code

Today we fall under the legal and civil code of our government.

Limited Retaliation

No Retaliation

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

There is no retaliation at a personal level. The individual hands over to God to prevent sin “in anger”.

Replaced Retaliation

This (Matt 5:38-44) is not the same as no retaliation. It seeks to:

  • Replace vengeance with grace
  • Collaborate in mutual best interest of both parties
  • Win the other party to a stronger relationship with yourself and Christ

When Jesus healed the soldier’s ear after being arrested he retaliated with grace and love.

Replaced Retaliation

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no    threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him    who judges justly. (1 Pet. 2: 23)

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.“… (Luke 23:34)

BEING OF CHRIST MEANS GOING THE EXTRA MILE

 

THE EXTRA MILE - lessons learnt

What these scriptures don’t teach

It does not:

  • Teach absolute passivism
  • Enable, encourage a sinner to do wrong

What these scriptures do teach

There should be:

  • No retaliation or replaced retaliation
  • Forbearance and forgiveness

A motive to gain the other’s welfare and maintain peace

Discussion

When does this teaching pose a challenge in realistic terms? How do we address it?

Share examples of how you have practiced:

  • no retaliation
  • replaced retaliation.

In what kinds of situations might we have the opportunity to “go the extra mile?”

References

1.https://jeremyedgar.wordpress.com/

2.https://bible.org/

3.https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/

4.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYLr9K4sP3g

5.NIV study bible notes

Related Posts

The Key Differentiator

What differentiates true Christians and non-Christians? How can we love our enemies? Where do we err in our classification and perception of “good” and “bad” people? How can we demonstrate Christlike love towards others?Matt 5:43-48,  Luke 6:27-36 Objectives Theme...

Lust and Immorality

What is the danger of making promises to people or God? How do we unknowingly at times, deceive others and let others deceive us? How do we shield ourselves from deception? How do we discern deception in us and others?Matt 5:21-26, Matt 18:15-17, Luke 12:57-59, John...

Be True to Yourself

What is the danger of making promises to people or God? How do we unknowingly at times, deceive others and let others deceive us? How do we shield ourselves from deception? How do we discern deception in us and others?Matt 5:21-26, Matt 18:15-17, Luke 12:57-59, John...

Anger and Hurt

What are the consequences of anger and hurt to ourselves? To others? Why is anger compared with murder? How can we avoid these feelings and overcome them? How do we replacing anger and hurt with love and compassion like Christ did?Matt 5:21-26, Matt 18:15-17, Luke...

Fulfilling the Law

Is the old testament relevant today? What new dimensions of the law did Jesus fulfil and highlight? What is grace? How do we truly appropriate it in our lives? What changes in our lives when we live under grace as opposed to living under the law?Matt 5:17-20; Luke...

Salt and Light

What are the inherent properties of salt and light that Christians need to demonstrate? What did salt and light mean in Christ’s days? What do we learn? How do we achieve inherent characteristics that have the power and influence salt and light have?Ref: Matt 5: 13-16...

The Extra Mile

What is the principle behind “eye for eye”? What does “turning the other cheek really mean”? When someone offends you what are different ways you can retaliate/ What is the smartest way? Why?Bible passages: Matt 5:38-42; Luke 6:29-30 Objectives Theme Verse Kinds of...