MATTHEW 5:40_let him have thy cloak also.
Come on Lord Jesus, there’s radical and then there’s … crazy! I mean, look at the facts:
I lost the case and with it my life’s savings.
I hate it because I don’t feel I was wrong.
I hate it because it will destroy my current lifestyle.
I hate it because it causes a pain in the pit of my stomach.
I hate it because it takes away my peaceful sleep.
Jesus says the remedy for my ailments is to give my enemy more than I’m obligated? No way! That will make me sicker!
Write this out on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it regularly: My being good does not impress Jesus. My doing good does. The Scribes and Pharisees were good. They knew and kept the laws. They failed to do good by loving their fellow man and leading them to freedom.
The Great Healer’s radical cure requires action. Action that comes from who’s in charge of your heart – you or Jesus?
Holy Jesus, I need Your help so I can do good and not just talk about being good. I need faith to believe in Your radical cures. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ does good—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:40_And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat…
If there will ever be any kind of goodwill toward man in this life, it will come from Jesus’ crazy teachings about not fighting back. The reason? God’s power is released into your life when you have faith. Faith in the strength of God’s love to fight your enemies for you. Jesus has taught you not to seek revenge and not to slap back. Now check this one out.
Someone sues you. You are in the right. You tried, but were not able to settle out of court. The case goes against you – strongly against you. In other words, you lost all your savings! Now you have big money problems.
This is not easy to take, even if you were in the wrong. If you were in the right, it is heart wrenching. This can result in something worse than your money problems – the bondage of bitterness.
Bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudge-holding bind. Bitterness bondage chokes your spirit, contaminates your salt, and puts out your light.
The money problems place a painful curb on your life. The bitterness places a curb on your heart, and its ability to love.
Jesus becomes The Great Healer. He offers a radical cure.
Great Healer, I need Your help so I am not bitter when I am treated wrongly. I need Your wisdom to know how to respond. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love holds no grudges—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:39_but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
If someone slaps you in the face, turn so they can do it again. What? No way! Jesus couldn’t possibly mean that! Where’s the balance?
There are more ways to be slapped than just physical. The pain of words is one – don’t want to be on the receiving end of that unbridled anger. An arrogant attitude is another – treated like you’re less than stupid. In whatever form the slap comes, Jesus has already taught not to seek revenge. Now does He say to let yourself be slapped again? That doesn’t make sense.
The teachings of Jesus can be radical – way radical! These law transformations are when Jesus is at His topsy-turvy best. His teaching appears to be wrong, maybe even crazy. A heart that has not been or is not being changed will find them to be just that – crazy!
Jesus has set a stage. Take a seat and enjoy the show. This is a play about a good guy who is injured by an evil bully. The bully is motivated by jealousy and envy. The good guy’s injury causes hardships in his life. The good guy looks for help but no one rushes to his rescue. Everyone fears the bully.
The good guy’s help comes from Jesus’ 180 degree turn.
Lord of Lords, You want to rescue me from the devil’s evil deeds. Help me make the turns I need to make. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love knows when to turn—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:39_But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil…
Resist not evil sounds odd. After all, wouldn’t you want to resist evil whenever it came your way?
The word resist here can be translated, to withstand; oppose. Again, that sounds like the right way to handle evil. If evil comes at me, I intend to oppose it.
So, why is the word not a part of this teaching? Does Jesus say not to fight evil? Let evil have its own way? It could almost sound like Jesus is in favor of evil. Since that isn’t true, it could only be one thing – scale balancing. Justice and mercy do not balance without Jesus’ input.
If you’ve been treated wrong in a way that is not an actual crime, you won’t run to the court for help. If you are transforming into a salty-lit-up disciple, you’ll run to Jesus for help. He tells you not to plan a revenge plot. Jesus wants you to resist that temptation.
Something just doesn’t seem right. The only way it can be right is if Jesus beats up your enemy, right? That’s how to balance the scales!
So, what would Jesus do?
The answer to that question is phenomenal!! Jesus transforms the whole revenge thing.
King of Kings, Please change my heart so it seeks mercy more than revenge. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ balances the heart—He will balance mine!
MATTHEW 5:38_Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
This is a law transformation – big time! The Law said if someone were to blind your eye, you could blind their eye. It also said that if someone were to knock out your tooth, you could knock out their tooth. In the Old Testament this was justice. The truth is, most people like this kind of justice. It satisfies. Nobody gets by with anything.
If you’ve gained some insights over the past several months, it’s when Jesus begins a teaching with “Ye have heard that it hath been said”—He is about to transform that!
The Great Balancer wants balance between justice and revenge. There is a place in the world for justice, the judicial system. The Bible says there is only one place for revenge – in God’s hands. Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’”
God only, gets to decide if revenge is appropriate. If so, He carries it out. God carries revenge out in His way, and only His way. He carries it out in His time, and only His time.
Because of hard hearts, it is always best to let God decide how to deal with any kind of revenge.
Blessed Savior, Help me leave revenge in Your hands. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ balances revenge and mercy—I don’t know how!