We are working our way through Jesus’ sermon on kingdom righteousness [Sermon on the Mount] and we come to a particularly challenging admonition. When we find ourselves affected by a particular display of wickedness our tendency is to fight back if it is in our power to do so. To be smitten on the cheek….or the nose!….by a fellow human being does not naturally provoke thoughts suited to a temperate and gentle disposition! Our anger is aroused. The grade school playground can be a useful illustration! Two kids find themselves in disagreement concerning something they have a genuine interest in….words are exchanged….push comes to shove and someone either takes a swing or grabs the other and tries to get all Dan Gable on him! Kids are one thing….their powers are limited & usually do not do much damage. Adults are more serious….and adults in the form of leaders and electors of nation-states are downright civilization-threatening. And yet the same forces in play between children are in play between those humans who govern nations!
Jesus came to reverse all of this! He suggested that if we get hit up side our head that we not respond in kind….but turn the other side to our tormentor as well! The world thinks that this represents insanity at its most pristine! Who could survive in this cruel world using such an ethical device?! This advice led Jesus to the Cross of his own free will. He could have avoided it…..He had the power….but he chose not to! In submitting to an unrighteous cross Jesus put His teaching to the most profound test. His death not only paid the penalty of our sins, but also demonstrated the extent of His power! Jesus offered His hands to be pierced and the result was not His being tossed into the ashcan of history…..but of reversing Hell and opening the floodgates of Heaven to every solitary human being who desires to enter in! In “turning His cheek” by allowing his palm to be pierced Jesus split the spiritual atom! This power is displayed not only in the just forgiveness of our sins but also in the power now available to us as His disciples to bring the life of heaven down to earth….now! The grace is present and abundant….the only lack is belief!
Updated July 22, 2018