Summary: Deals with turning the left cheek, and explains some background that is uncommon to most believers. If we are supposed to turn the cheek...should be accept being robbed? Questions like that appear.
A STUDY OVER THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: PART XVIII (TOPIC: Biblical Resistance)
INTRO: There is a famous movie a couple of years ago called Fight Club. And for those who have seen it, what is the first rule (let the students answer, they will know it, so you know it, the first rule is no one talks about fight club). Well today, we are going to break the first rule of fight club, we are going to talk about fighting. But not the way we are accustomed to seeing around us, God’s way of fighting. It may surprise you.
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 5:38
5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 45 5:39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 5:40 And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. 5:41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.
5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 5:48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1. AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH:
BIBLE VERSE: Exodus 21:23-25
21:23 But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life, 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Code of Hammurabi: It is a law code written by a Babylon with 282 specific laws and punishments. It is the oldest surviving law system created, and perhaps the first one officially enacted over a major dynasty.
3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.
14. If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.
21. If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.
129. If a man’s wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves
282. If a slave say to his master: "You are not my master," if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.
Looks Like God is Teaching Revenge: On the surface, it looks like God is teaching revenge, He is teaching if someone breaks your arm, go break their arm. But in all reality, he is establishing a real sense of law. Up until the codes, if someone harmed you, it would result in their death. What God is really saying here is, “if someone breaks your arm, you do NOT have the right to go kill them.” Instead, “one should provide an equal trade off for the harm done to you.” In this process, God is establishing a civil court system. God is fair.
Turn the Cheek: Is Jesus teaching us here to be doormats? Is he teaching us to be pacifists? If Tom Papez is threatened in the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador by an attacker holding a broking bottle of alcohol which is placed in a stabbing position, does that mean Tom should allowed himself to be stabbed? Though there is some attempt to say staying away from violence is a good thing, that is not exactly the answer.
The Right Cheek: Back in the day, people fought right handed, even left handed people had to fight this way (at this point, stand up a person, and show everyone which side of the head contact is made by a right handed punch, they will soon figure out it is the left cheek). So how can contact with the right cheek made? It can be made by a back-handed slap, like something you might see in a Hollywood movie when someone is trying to degrade someone else, especially a woman.