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.
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
-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.