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TOV #outoftheordinary

Jesus teaches what a kingdom type of like looks like - a life that is out of the ordinary!

In the first part of this text, Jesus is standing against the mistreatment of women.

Rabbi's at this time gave various interpretations of the Mosaic law with regard to divorce. William Barclay notes that the school of Shammai taught sexual immorallity was ground for divorce. Hillel's school taught that a cooking fail was grounds for a man to divorce his wife. Rabbi Akiba said that if someone more attractive came along, that was enough to justify divorce. Add the influence of Greco-Roman culture, the family unit was at risk. Jesus is focussing less on the legal grounds for divorce, and highlighting the selfishness of hearts, and the effect that this has on others. People of the kingdom are called to be #covenantkeepers. People of honour and humility. Men should see women as daughters of the King and not objects to satisfy selfish desires.

Empty promises. Broken agreements. Going back on what was said. Not much has changed since the time of Jesus until now. Oaths varied in strength depending on who or what was invoked when making the oath. Jesus is teaching that a kingdom person should be of such integrity, that no extra words or guarantee would be needed. Just a Yes or No. The point is that the length of the sentence doesn't matter if the substance in the heart lacks integrity.

#peacemakers (v38-42)

The Lex Talionis, the earliest recorded code (Hammurabi, Babylon from 2285 to 2242 B.C.) is the law of tit for tat. An eye for an eye. The punishment should fit the crime. This code was less about personal vengeance and more a guide for judges to execute justice. Here, Jesus call's his followers to not seek revenge at all.

A backhand slap was a pointed insult. Jesus' point - if someone insults you, don't retaliate.

Taking a shirt could be done as a pledge, but custom required that a coat should always be returned by sunset. Jesus' point, don't stand on your legal rights, even when you have the right to.

Going one mile was something a Roman soldier could demand of any Jew. Jesus said, go two.

He is teaching that his followers should focus less on their rights, and more on their responsibility to pursue peace. They should remove themselves as judge, and let God handle justice.

There were many that were "not the neighbors" of Jesus' hearers. Roman, oppressors, the unclean Gentiles, and the Samaritans. Jesus is not calling his followers to have the same personal relationships with everyone as with those closest, but rather is talking about agape love. An intentional and unconditional benevolence and goodwill. He is calling his followers to deal with prejudice and pursue unity. The barriers we have in our hearts toward others can limit the flourishing in our relationship with God.

The relationship must come before the rules - rhythms rather. The things Jesus teaches are not checklists to tick off, but character-shaping practices to lean into. Perfection here, then, is a progression and a process, rather than a moment.

Galatians 5:16-17

16 I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other so that you don’t do what you want.

There is a tension between the Spirit and the flesh. Whichever one is given preference in the thousands of decisions we make each day will be the one that becomes the anchor!

Jesus is the ultimate

2 Tim 2:13 (CSB) if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

John 8:32 (CSB) You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Rom 5:1 (CSB) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:13-14 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility

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