Rev. Dustin Beck, pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Warda, TX, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Matthew 5:38-48.
Jesus continues to sharpen the focus concerning the Law. The sort of love to which He calls His disciples is not found anywhere else in the world. The default position for people is to take revenge when they have been wronged; the principle, “an eye for an eye,” limited such revenge from getting out of control. Jesus calls His disciples away from such retaliation. Rather than returning evil for evil, Jesus teaches us His disciples to return love for evil. This does not overturn the call Christians have in their vocation to love and protect their neighbors. Rather, Jesus calls us toward that same love that He showed to those who did evil to Him, willingly going to the cross for the very people who put Him there. This call reaches its climax as Jesus startles those who hold to worldly wisdom as He says: “Love your enemies.” This is the love that God has for us sinners in Christ, and it is the love that shows itself forth from those who are in Christ. As Jesus’ disciples exercise this love, they show themselves to be children of their heavenly Father who has loved them first. In Christ’s call to be perfect in the same way God is, the Law drives us back toward the righteousness of Christ that has been bestowed upon us freely by grace, so that the Holy Spirit begins to bring forth His fruit in our lives.
“All Righteousness Fulfilled” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that digs into the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The first evangelist proclaims Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike as the fulfillment of God’s saving words and acts throughout the Old Testament. As the Christ in the line of David and Abraham, Jesus is the promised King who comes to bring sinners from every nation to live under His gracious reign.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
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. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[a] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[b] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Matthew 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
- Matthew 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.