Summary: Following Jesus requires that we go the Extra Mile!
Text: Matthew 5:38-42
Theme: New Testament view of justice
Prop: The Law provided justice, but Christians are not to always seek justice.
Trans.: Jesus gives us the solution to a heart of retaliation. Turn the other cheek, give more than is required, to go the extra mile, to show mercy to the less fortunate.
One winter day not so long ago a man went shopping at the local neighborhood mall. When he returned to his car he noticed a rather foul odor coming from under the hood and so he checked the engine. In the compartment he discovered a dead cat rather mutilated from being caught in the fan belt. The poor cat had sought shelter from the snow and cold and didn’t realize the dangers of resting on the engine block. Mr. Jones was lucky though, one of his shopping bags was made of plastic and so he emptied its contents and proceeded to scrape, pull and push the cat corpse into the bag. With a bang he slammed the hood down and walked off to wash his hands, but looking back he noticed something unusual. He had left the bag on the hood of the car. He was about to return and pick it up but just then a lady walks by, looks suspiciously in both directions, she grabs the bag, and with her cart she then speeds off for the mall. "Well this is too good to be true!" the man thought as he laughed at the lady. He decided to follow her and see what would happen next. She went to a restaurant and proceeded to survey her prize. "Yeek!" she screamed as she looked in the bag. And then over she fell. Of course, the management was equally alarmed that a customer had fainted in their establishment and so they called the paramedics. The woman in no time at all was strapped to a cart and ready to be hauled off to the ambulance. But the man couldn’t resist. "Hey lady!" he shouted, "don’t forget your package!" And with that he gently laid the cat corpse filled bag on the lady’s chest, just as the ambulance doors were closing!
One summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. He was tired and hungry. The waitress had just served three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclist - of the Hell’s Angel’s type - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
How did this trucker respond? How would you respond? Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?”
She replied, “I don’t know about that, but he sure isn’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot.”
I. JUSTICE ACCORDING TO THE LAW. Verse 38.
2. This was not revenge, but it was justice.
3. Revenge happens when we feel that justice was not served, so God in His wisdom said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would ensure that people would not seek revenge.
The farmer had been pestered by a carload of people who delighted in climbing an orchard fence and eating his apples without asking permission. One day, as he walked up to them, one of them smiled sheepishly and said, "We hope you don’t mind that we took a few of your apples." "No, not at all," said the farmer, "and I hope you don’t mind that I took some of the air out of your tires."
II. JUSTICE FOR THE CHRISTIAN. Verses 39-42.
1. Jesus reveals to us the fact that the Christian has a higher calling in life than seeking revenge. We can spend our time demanding our rights, or we can live by a higher law. We can be a testimony to God’s mercy.
2. When Jesus says do not resist him who is evil, he is not implying that we do not resist evil. He is saying that we are not to take matters into our own hands, as if justice depends on our reaction.