INSIDE OUT Part 6 – An eye for an eye Mathew 5:38 to 42
I – INTRODUCTION WHAT THE TOPIC IS ALL ABOUT One of the greatest principles in our democracy is the concept of having “rights.” A significant amount of our constitution is devoted to establishing the foundation of our rights. Justice and liberty which are the foundation of human rights are indeed noble causes. But sometimes if not most of the times self interest dominates when we enforce our rights. In the process justice is replaced by vengeance and concern for protecting society becomes a concern for protecting self interest. Our Lord Jesus Christ shows us here how the concept of “rights” as God intended has been misinterpreted by the Scribes and Pharisees. We will examine closely what our Lord teaches on enforcing one’s rights and how this relates to the entire sermon on sermon.
I – INTRODUCTION Historical and Contextual background Based on Old Testament prophecy a Messiah or a king was predicted to come and establish his kingdom. When Jesus came and presented himself as the Messiah and the King, the Jews thought he was finally going to come and rescue them from Roman oppression and setup his earthly kingdom. True, Jesus was the Messiah and King but his Kingdom was not of this earth but a spiritual Kingdom. The Jews, being eager to get into the kingdom wanted to hear how this could be achieved. In Mathew 5 to 7, known collectively as the sermon on the mount, Jesus describes the characteristics of Kingdom citizens (verses1 to 12), the function of Kingdom citizens (13 to 16) and the basis of conduct of Kingdom citizens which is God’s laws (13 to 17) He clarified to them that the standard of righteousness required to get into the Kingdom anchored on God’s which is internal righteousness. (vs. 20) He shows them how they had been concerned so much on the external instead of what God really wants them to do, to be concerned with what is on the inside. Jesus gives them six illustrations to show them what he means and how they missed the point. (Verse 21 to 48) In verses 38 to 42, Jesus gives here the fifth illustration on how theyt have misinterpreted what the Old Testament said about “An eye for an eye”
II – WHAT THE OLD TESTAMENT SAID “ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (vs. 38) ” Kamo nakadungog na nga giingon, `Mata tungod sa mata ug ngipon tungod sa ngipon” (Cebuano) This is quoted from the Exodus 21:24; Levitcus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. It is part of the longer list of “hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:24 to 25) This is known as the principle of “Lex Talionis” one of the most ancient law codes.
There are two purposes why God gave this principle: 1.) To curtail further crime. “ And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.” (Deuteronomy 19:20) “ Ug ang mga mahabilin magapatalinghug, ug mangahadlok, ug gikan dinhi dili na sila magausab sa pagbuhat ug usa ka butang nga dautan nga ingon niini sa taliwala nimo.” (Cebuano) 2.) To prevent excessive punishment based on personal vengeance and angry retaliation. It is very important to note that in the “three” instances wherein this principle is mentioned in the Old Testament it has something to do with the Justice system.
III – HOW THE PHARISEES TWISTED MOSES’ TEACHING The “eye for an eye” principle is only used in the Justice system. God never intended it to be used for personal relations. God said: “ I will take revenge; I will pay them back . . “ (Deuteronomy 32:25) “ Ako ang panimalus, ug bayad” (Cebuano) “ If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink” - (Proverbs 25:21) “ Kong ang imong kaaway pagagutomon, hatagi siya ug tinapay nga makaon; Ug kong siya pagauhawon, hatagi siya ug tubig nga imnon” (Cebuano) Sadly the Scribes and Pharisees has twisted this teaching and has deliberately taken the “eye for an eye” principle as a license to commit vengeance and to take the law into their own hands.
IV - What was God’s intentions according to Jesus “ But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” – Mathew 5:39 to 42 Apan magaingon ako kaninyo. Ayaw ninyo pagsukli ang tawong dautan. Hinonoa, kon may mosagpa kanimo sa too mong aping, itahan mo kaniya ang pikas usab; ug kon may makigburoka kanimo ug moilog sa imong kamisola, ihatag pa usab kaniya ang imong kupo;ug kon may mopugos kanimo sa pagpauban aniyag usa ka milya, ubani siyag duha ka milya.Hatagi ang magpakilimos animo, ug ayaw balibari ang buot mohulam kanimo. (Cebuano)
“ But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil . . . ”
Jesus does not mean here that we are not to stand up against evil. James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:9 says were to resist the devil.
Resist (Anthistemi), set against or oppose. The idea here is that it refers to harm done to us by someone who is evil. Jesus is speaking about resisting personal resentment, spite and vengeance. This similar to what the Apostle Paul wrote:
“ Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men. . (Romans 12:17)
“ Kinahanglan walay balusan ninyog dautan tungod sa dautan” (Cebuano)
If you are a true Christian, Kingdom citizen vengeance should have no place in your heart and as the Apostle Paul writes we need to overcome someone’s evil towards us by doing good to them.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Ayaw pagpadaug sa dautan, hinonoa dag-a ang dautan pinaagi sa maayo (Cebuano)
In the next verses, Jesus picks out four basic human rights that he uses to illustrate the principle of none retaliation, Dignity, Security, Liberty and Property. 1.) DIGNITY – To the Jews a slap on the face is the most demeaning of all acts as it was considered an attack on one’s honour. “ If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (vs. 39) “ Hinonoa, kon may mosagpa kanimo sa too mong aping, itahan mo kaniya ang pikas usab” (Cebuano) Turning the other cheek symbolizes non-vengeance, humbleness and gentleness of Spirit that characterizes true Kingdom citizens. When someone attacks our dignity we are not to defend by retaliation . The greatest example of this is Christ when he forgave those who crucified him (Luke 23:34)
The greatest example of this is Christ when he forgave those who crucified him (Luke 23:34) “ But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. Christ Is Our Example For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:20-23) “ Apan kon makapailub man kamo sa diha nga magabuhat kamog matarung ug paantuson tungod niini, nan, kamo kahimut-an sa Dios.Kay sa maong paggawi gipanagtawag kamo, maingon nga alang kaninyo miantus man usab si Cristo, nga nagbilin kaninyog usa ka panig-ingnan aron kamo managsunod sa iyang mga tunob. Siya walay nahimo nga pagpakasala; walay hingkaplagang limbong diha sa iyang baba . Sa gisultihan siyag pasipala, wala siya mobalus pagsultig pasipala; sa nag-antus siya, wala siya manghulga; hinonoa gisalig lamang niya ang tanan ngadto kaniya nga nagapanghukom uban sa katarungan”
2.) SECURITY “ And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” (vs. 40) “ Ug kon may makigburoka kanimo ug moilog sa imong kamisola, ihatag pa usab kaniya ang imong kupo” - The shirt mentioned here was the type of tunic worn as an undergarment. And the coat was an outer garment which served as a blanket at night. The coat was of such importance that the law of Moses commands that it be returned to the owner before sundown if it is lent. (Exodus 22:26 to 27) - Jesus is not talking here about a robbery but a legitimate claim of anyone who sues you. In Jewish times sometimes the court would require payment in clothing. The attitude of Kingdom citizen should be one who is willing to bend down and humble himself, willing even to lend his valuable outer garment rather than cause offence to the adversary. (Willing to more than apologize and give what is due)
3.) LIBERTY “ And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (vs. 41) “ ug kon may mopugos kanimo sa pagpauban aniyag usa ka milya, ubani siyag duha ka milya” (Cebuano) Jesus here was referring to the Roman law at that time that would authorize Roman soldiers to force Civilians to carry his pack for a mile. Aside from it being a physical burden to civilians, nothing is more despicable to the Jews to carry the equipment and weapons of their oppresors. Yet Jesus says, even this despised burden should be carried out willingly and even if we are forced to go only a mile, we should willingly go two. This is a call for Kingdom citizens to sacrifice their liberty to become a faithful witness for His name.
3.) LIBERTY “ And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (vs. 41) “ ug kon may mopugos kanimo sa pagpauban aniyag usa ka milya, ubani siyag duha ka milya” (Cebuano) - Humans cherish liberty so much that we are willing to give our lives for it. This is God’s design. But it should never be sacrificed at the expense of righteousness. - Jesus here was referring to the Roman law at that time that would authorize Roman soldiers to force Civilians to carry his pack for a mile. Aside from it being a physical burden to civilians, nothing is more despicable to the Jews to carry the equipment and weapons of their oppresors. - Yet Jesus says, even this despised burden should be carried out willingly and even if we are forced to go only a mile, we should willingly go two. This is a call for Kingdom citizens to sacrifice their liberty to become a faithful witness for His name.
“ Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (vs. 42)
“ Hatagi ang magpakilimos animo, ug ayaw balibari ang buot mohulam kanimo” (Cebuano)
As human being possessiveness is one of our fallen characteristics. We dislike giving up our things.
Jesus is not speaking here of giving to everybody’s needs. The implication here is that the person who ask has a genuine need. We are not required to respond to every foolish and selfish request asked from us. Further Jesus is speaking of the willing, generous and loving desire to help others. He is speaking of generosity that genuinly wants to meet the other person’s need, not just to buy off one’s conscience.
CONCLUSION Such powerful truths that Jesus has taught here ! The legalistic Pharisees has once again been proven wrong in their teachings. In our human capacity, we can never do any of what Jesus taught because we are sinful and selfish. This can only be done by the Grace of God and if God truly has changed your heart and that you have heeded his call to deny your self and take up your cross and follow him, then you could be able to do what he is saying. To do as Jesus taught requires dying to self. How do you know if you have died to yourself, read this beautiful poem: When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, and any raiment, and any interruption by the will of God, THAT IS DYING TO SELF. When you are forgotten or neglected, or purposely set at naught and you don't sting and hurt with the insult of the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend your self, but take it all in patient, loving silence, THAT IS DYING TO SELF. When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder and irregularity, or any annoyance, when you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured, THAT IS DYING TO SELF. When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances. THAT IS DYING TO SELF. When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, THAT IS DYING TO SELF. ARE YOU DEAD YET??
Most of the Notes in this slide are lifted from John MacArthur’s Bible Commentary on the book of Mathew. For Bible study Guide notes, sermon notes and the audio message of this series by John MacArthur visit www.gty.org . Other inputs and notes are done by Zigfred Diaz To download other slides that can be used for sermons visit the Master’s Community Fellowship website at www.tmcf.zdiaz.com