Summary: Grace is stricter than the law. Since the grace of God is given to us, we in turn should bestow that same means and measure of grace upon others. They do not deserve it, but neither did we.
The Second Mile and Beyond
----Take Another Lap-------
38 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 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.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Law vs. Grace
Grace really does demand more than the law, but it has to be done with good will.
Jesus uses the word "compel" in verse 41 (obligated in spanish), which gives the idea of subjecting or at least inconvenience.
The idea here is not that of your wife begging you to take her to the mall and carry her shopping bags or the husband dragging his wife to AutoZone to look over the new products.
In the New Testament setting, the Romans were in power. Their law dictated that they could require an able bodied man to carry their load for them at a moments notice for up to a roman mile.
1 roman mile = 1,000 strides
This was the reality of life for the Jews of the disciples day. It would make them late for business, or keep them from an impotant meeting, but that was life.
However, Jesus does not say "a roman soldier". He says "whosoever".
In other words, we are not told to do it because it is a law of man, but this should be the lifestyle of a follower of Jesus.
The Way Least Traveled
Our tendency is to avoid extra work, especially when it is not for our personal benefit.
Ephesians 4 and 5 teach us much about christian service. We like it if it does not mess with our schedule or take away from our personal ambitions.
Our problem: We live with the mentality of VICTIM and not that of VICTOR (overcomer).
We are consumed with serving ourselves and not so much about making a personal sacrifice to let Christ be seen through our unselfish actions.
Simon of Cyrene was compeled to carry the cross of Christ
Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
-the sons of Simon; Rufus and Alexander are mentioned by Paul to be greeted at the end of the book of Romans. It just might be that the deed of their father encouraged them to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
May the Lord help us to get to a place where we carry our cross out of love more that out of obligation.
Christ exhorts us to go beyond what the law requires, He tells us to go the second mile.
(grace is stricter than the law)
31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
Moses was carrying a heavy load for his people. He let God know that he meant business about getting help and mercy for the people of Israel.
Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Do we carry such a burden for others?
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus counted it as joy to suffer for our benefit.
Let us get past the mentality of "our rights to leisure time" and pursuing the "easy life". These are ideals of the world and not spiritual pursuits.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
The "living sacrifice" makes me realize that the second mile is not an option.
I. The Second Mile is a Solitary Way
-the multitude does not walk this way
-many a time it is just Jesus and you
-you may encounter the devil along the way to discourage you and trying to turn you back.
-Satan will tell you that you don't deserve all this extra hassle, so don't be fanatical.