Text: Matthew 5:38-42
Jesus Christ gives four instructions to his disciples. These instructions describe the divine nature at work. Luke 6:24-36 interprets the verses.
- First, if you’re good to people who are good to you, that’s expected. Sinners do that. But if you’re good to enemies, then you apparently have something they don’t. This is the divine nature at work and it will be impossible for your pride to accept. It is faith in God put to a test. This is what Peter meant when he said in 2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Which leads to the second point.
- Second, it is a description of God himself. Look at Luke 6:36 and Matthew 5:48, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Romans 5:8)
- Third, the Lord explains the disciples real warfare. Revenge and retaliation will cost more in the end. Avoid entanglement where your pride is at stake, and you’ll lose your testimony and the power of God in the process of “standing up for yourself.” Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
The law is good
- This law was for judges to make their judgment, but it was not required that a person exact from another.
- Eye for an eye means let the punishment fit the crime. And it is within your right to be compensated for injury or loss because of someone else.
Retaliation (vs 39)
- First of all the description is of Jesus Christ himself.
- Isaiah 53:4-9
- In a fallen world of sinful men, women, and children, if no one ever takes the high road, no one gets out alive. If Jesus Christ fights back and renders an eye for an eye every time he is wronged in his earthly ministry, no one could be justified by his blood because he never would have shed his blood.
- Second, Jesus Christ is applying this to his disciples and anyone who will follow in his steps.
- 1 Peter 2:18-25
- If the disciples or anyone will be a disciple of Jesus Christ, this is the road God manifest in the flesh walks. To follow as disciples, you’ll have to walk the same road.
- Now you probably love the idea the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. But if he is really your shepherd, that means you’re following him. And if you’re not following him, he isn’t your shepherd. What if you’re led beside still waters, but you’ve got to go through some rough terrain to get there?
- Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies… So the great meal the shepherd has for me is also surrounded by enemies?
- Third, this is the divine nature at work.
- The only thing your flesh knows how to do in this situation is stand up for itself. Whether that be to fight openly or to privately seek revenge. Either way, by following the flesh you’d be baited into a fight that will quench the spirit of God and the work of God.
- Matthew 26:52-54 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
- When you’ve been legitimately wronged while you’re trying to right (I qualify it that way because he already said in Peter if you do wrong and get wronged, oh well), but if you’re wronged while doing right it is part of the divine nature to leave justice to the Lord.
- John 18:36 – You’ll get too caught up trying to right the wrongs of the wrong kingdom anyway.
- Isaiah 50:5-10
Litigation (vs 40)
- Romans 12:19-21
- God uses your good behavior as a witness against evil.
- The Bible says of Noah that he built the ark, and his faith condemned the world.
- Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Authority (vs 41)
- This could be like an occupation. The disciples obviously left their occupations, but the idea is someone has authority to COMPEL you to do something like a boss or some administration.
Generosity (vs 42)
Now these verses are the road to the cross. Watch how this is laid out.
- Matthew 27:29-37, 50.
- Jesus Christ punched in the face repeatedly during his trial. (vs 39)
- His coat is taken from him by soldiers in the morning and he is mocked with a purple robe. The soldiers will later cast lots for his coat. (vs 40)
- He is compelled to carry his cross in a death march to the cross (vs 41)
- There at the cross he would give his life. (vs 42)