Matthew 5:38-48: Intentional Grace
October 5, 2021
- Its about the heart stupid!
- Intention matters as much as Action
- C.S. Lewis “Great Divorce”: the one who greets you in heaven is the one who held offenses against you
- Any holy or good thing is only holy and good if it comes from holy and good intention
- Much of Jesus’ problem with Pharisees is that they followed the law for the sake of the law but not for the INTENTION of the law
- If you do good things for self-glorification, then its in vain
- Last week, Jesus hit how intention/heart:
- Determines your emotion
- Murder derives from emotion derived from improper intention (self-intended)
- Determines your passion
- Adultery derives from lust that derives from coveting (desire for something forbidden)
- Character derives from intention and should speak for itself
Exceeding and Intentional !
- Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus first paints if you have wronged someone
- Do not be bitter
- Do not insult
*Now, after addressing our wrongs first (Matthew 7:3-5), he changes course to those who wrong us (offend, insult, etc.)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Grace shares the same as Justice
- “Eye for an eye” was the Jewish/Biblical standard of justice
- Active debate between Sadducees and Pharisees
- Pharisees: Speaks to equal monetary compensation
- Sadducees: Literal interpretation
*Jesus diverts from both religious systems and states his own: GRACE!
- Offense given means an offense received
- Here, a slap to the right cheek assumes a backhand in a right-hand dominate population. Thus, Jesus is NOT speaking to physical violence, but INSULTS (Backhand/spitting ultimate insult)
- “eye for an eye” equals “slap for a slap”: Jesus says “If you receive an offense (justice calls that you owe an offense), Jesus says absorb the second owed offense”
In this passage, we learn Christ’s definition of and !
- Christ on the cross acts this out: We rejected our vocation to which we were created (offered God death so death is owed to us). Jesus restores that vocation
- Magnetic theory simply explained: Christ restores our intentions back to God
*MY VIEW: The cross was not a necessary step SO God could forgive us, but was the act of forgiveness itself!
Grace always exceeds the
- This law was meant for judges, not individuals
- Every example Jesus uses demonstrates to go beyond the legal barrier
- Someone insults you (civil legal), offer them further satisfaction in violence (civil illegal)
- Someone sues you for your clothes (Torah legal), give them your robe (Torah illegal)
- Romans make you carry/walk a mile (Roman legal), walk two miles (Roman illegal)
- Tithe 10% (Torah legal), disciples gave everything (Gospel Grace)
- Press charges (Civil legal), forgive offense (Gospel grace)
Exceeding and Intentional !
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Enemy means enemy…ISIS, Al Qaeda, Political opposition, scheming co-workers, etc.
- Just as Grace exceeds the Law, Love should exceed expectation
- The civil law says pay taxes (even non-believers do that) and is not a grace, but paying taxes and giving to charity exceeds the giving required by law
- The world says love those close to you (family, country, tribe) but hate those opposed to you; but Christ is love, and Christ died for all
- If my intention is for God and His kingdom, then my intention is for His purpose, will, and mission…His will and mission is for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9)
- Love like a child
- Luke 18:17
- ‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ Rebecca – age 8
- ‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy – age 4 (Remember “Raca” from last week?”
- ‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl – age 5
- ‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ Chrissy – age 6
- ‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ Mary Ann – age 4
- ‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.’ Nikka – age 6 (NOTICE: The first time Jesus teaches on love is in regards to our enemies)
- Love like you love yourself
- Matthew 22:35-40
- I love myself enough to:
- Not go hungry tonight
- Go beyond minimum requirement/need
- Place to sleep tonight
*Jesus says, love that way, just change the intention to where it is applied
30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Questions for Guided Discussion
- Read vs. 38: Does “Eye for an eye” reflect your natural understanding of justice? How do you define or recognize injustice, or better yet, justice in today’s world?
- Do you include grace within your justice “equation?”
- Read vs. 38-42: In verses 21-26, Jesus addresses what to do when we are in the wrong. Where in your life do you constantly address other’s wrong doing or sin while ignoring your own?
- Do you follow the fallacy, “I will only give grace if they deserve it?”
- In this passage, Christ defines how you maintain grace while not offending justice. How do we practically apply “absorbing offenses” or “turning the other cheek?”
- Grace always exceeds the law; and Christ does not alleviate our burden of the Law, but elevates it. What areas of your life do you only do the legal minimum? How does grace applied to that situation change your spirit, approach, and behavior in it?
- Jesus is largely talking in context of the Roman authority ruling over Israel. How does government authority, and grace applied to it apply today? With the COVID Vaccine? Taxes? Stimulus/economics?
- Read vs. 43-48: How do we love our enemies as we love ourselves? In what ways do we love ourselves, and how does that translate into practical love for enemies?
- Is the love in your life exceeding expectation? Do you love with the same capacity as the world, or is your love noticeably different?
- How does our intention effect our love?
- Read Matthew 27:30-32: Christ acts as the supreme example for all His teaching. What other areas of scripture does Jesus perfectly exemplify his teachings?