For where was the difference between what had been said and what Jesus was saying? Where is the uniqueness between the two scenarios?
Matthew 5:38 - 39
ESV - 38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
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I believe that Jesus knew the culture, and what the people did in their lives daily. One of the sayings of the day was an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth- that getting revenge against someone who did something bad to you was okay in society- and everyone agreed with it. But Jesus called his followers to be different- to stand out against the society and culture that calls for revenge against someone who wrongs you. Don't continue the fight.
The teachings of Jesus are the most exciting ever and therefore most read. Yet without revelation, you may simply read but will lack understanding the mysteries of it. This makes the Bible the most exciting book ever. But what lessons do we draw from this saying of Jesus; "You have heard that it was said; an eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person"? Jesus teaches that; "..no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins." (Mark 2:22). First lesson: The old wineskins represent the old order and that is the law. An eye for an eye is a practice of the law. The new wine is a representation of grace. Is this to disregard the law? No. But it is to be there in substance not practice. By this teaching, the old (law) had changed to new (grace). In what sense? In the sense that; the old order was as good as leading us to the new order. Was the old order a mistake in anyway? No it wasn't, but it was simply a way to. NB: GRACE BEARS, THE LAW JUDGES AND CONDEMNS. What was in the old that is not in the new? For the old order had been basically about the literal world. For it had been to shape the overt relations of humans with God and with fellow humans and the environment as a whole. When man fell, he subjugated himself to the ways and patterns of the devil. Many of such ways and patterns are; murder, roughness, envy, etc. Thus, there had been need to deal with this situation. Mark you, the first thing Cain learnt was the knowledge of and how to murder. Who had taught him such? For it had been the project of the devil. Well as God was working to perfect things, the devil was on the other hand doing all to fail everything God did. How was this scenario to be stopped? This called for the law, much as it had never been in God's plan for the law to be between man and God. Because the situation had been that dire, the first thing was to create fear in everyone by having them each dealt with in the same way they dealt with others. Such therefore had basically been a matter of bringing about order, for it was never to create a lasting relationship with God yet God loved a lasting relationship. The law deals with the literal person because it carries dire consequences with it should you break it, yet it never shapes a desirable heart. The law is pretty much practiced to date, yet the prisons continue to fill up. Despite the toughness of the consequences of breaking the law, say, "..an eye for an eye...", people carry on to do just the same. It is simply vengeful with no end in sight. Thus by the law, we seek to solve issues by ourselves yet it is very limited because it doesn't reveal the heart. For in the heart lies the truth of who a person is. Many people are in cells not because they have cases to answer, but because in our limited options, the leads and traces could falsely be leading us to an innocent person. By this teaching of Jesus therefore, because man is vastly limited, we shouldn't as humans be simply responsible to each other but to God. For God knows the heart and the only one to shape it the way He loves it to be (Luke 16:15). That is why He says; "...resist not an evil person..". Why? Because the law is to punish the culprit, yet Jesus came to transform a potentially evil person into a potential God fearing person. The law doesn't perfect a person, obedience to God does. The law emerged because of disobedience. What law are you keeping to love your children, wife or husband etc? If non, equally so, there is no need for a law to keep loving God and our neighbors. Lastly, we learn that; when Jesus said; "You have heard that it was said..." "But I tell you...." He was speaking in His authority as the word of God. What He was therefore teaching is not to be contended with by any other teachings by anybody else. It would be heresy (Revelation 22:18-21).
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