On Turning the Other Cheek
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Give away our most personal clothing? Offer up our face for a direct smack? What kind of teaching is this? These are some of the most controversial and confusing statements made by Jesus, but in the overall context of the Sermon on the Mount, they’re more easily understood. Could it be that Jesus is saying less about subjecting oneself to physical violence, and more about something of a spiritual nature?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What is Jesus requiring by the “simple” answer in verse 37?
2. How are you at being open and honest about your shortcomings and failures? Why is transparency a mark of someone resting in God’s grace?
3. The law of Moses does, in fact, lay down the “eye for an eye” penalty for offenses (see Exodus 21:24). How were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day distorting this commandment?
4. How are you inclined to react when you are insulted? What encouragement do you find in Jesus’ response to oppression and affliction (as predicted in Isaiah 53:7)?
5. Is it wrong for a Christian to defend himself or herself against violence? Why or why not?
6. How can we say that the gospel runs throughout the Sermon on the Mount?
1. Read Matthew 5:33-37
2. 01. The Christian’s attitude (and speech) should be characterized by transparent honesty and a recognition of our inability.
3. Read Matthew 5:38-42
4. “[When men strive against each other] if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. – Deuteronomy 21:23-25 ESV
5. “The scribes and the Pharisees … extended this principle of just retribution from the law courts (where it belonged) to the realm of personal relationships (where it didn’t belong). They tried to use it to justify personal revenge.” – John Stott
6. 02. Jesus wants us to understand the perfect standard, the law of God, so that we might run to the perfect substitute, Him, the Son of God.
7. “This is the power of the Sermon on the Mount: Christ pitches it high. People think because I talk about grace that I’m lowering the demand of the Law – quite to the contrary. I’m increasing the bar; I’m lifting the bar of the demand so you can earlier begin to say, “I cannot do it.” What God is really speaking to human beings, instead of trying harder, is the only possible way of dealing with [this conflict] is humility.”
– Paul Zahl
8. “Jesus does not urge us to redouble our efforts to observe the law. Nonetheless, we must let his moral teaching have it’s weight. If God’s commands are difficult, we need to face that squarely, confess it to ourselves and to God, and ask for mercy.” – Daniel Doriani
03. A posture of defensiveness is not fitting for those who have been redeemed by grace.