Jesus overturns the OT law of mandatory retribution and replaces it with a teaching of non-violent resistance. Jesus teaches us how to live gently in a violent world, embracing a peaceable posture, not because it "works" but because it is faithful.
This Week's Action Step:
Pray for an enemy every day this week.
Small Group Questions:
· Jesus overturns the OT teaching of mandatory retribution.
· Jesus teaches that we aren’t to respond to violence with violence.
· Jesus tells us to love even our enemies.
· In overturning the OT teaching of lex talionis, Jesus teaches us something important about reading the Bible.
o Jesus is free to overturn OT teachings because Scripture is an unfolding story wherein the true will of God is being progressively revealed, and Jesus perfectly reveals the will of God.
o To say that another way, the Bible is not a flat book, and what that means is that while all Scripture is authoritative, all Scripture is not equally authoritative.
o How does that effect the way you read the Bible? What questions do you have about it?
· When it comes to interpreting Jesus’s radical condemnation of violence, we said there are two ways to interpret it: non-violent resistance (resist to the point of killing) and just war (violence is almost always wrong).
o I’m gonna make a case for both, and then I want you to argue with me…
§ Non-violence: It’s the clear biblical teaching, regardless of how hard it is for us to accept. Jesus and Paul clearly teach it. The early church knew that and embraced it. Is it realistic? Does it work? Well that’s not really our call. We’re not non-violent because it works; we’re non-violent because Jesus told us to be. That aside, yea it does work just as well if not better than violence because where has all the violence gotten us?
§ Just war: We can’t be so literal. Sure, we should do everything we can to avoid violence, but sometimes we have no choice. We have a right to self-defense and a responsibility to defend others.
· Regardless where you land, there’s a remarkable middle ground: all Christians should agree that violence is never ideal and almost always wrong.
o Do you think Christians have been far too quick to use violence? Why?
o How would the teachings of Jesus and Paul affect the way Christians think about war and law enforcement?
o What does a consistent pro-life stance look like? Does it make sense to be against abortion and for capital punishment?
· Matthew 5:44 tells us that we have to love our enemies.
o Who are our enemies?
§ Name some personal ones and then some general ones.
o What would it look like for us to love them?
Songs from Today
The Lion And The Lamb by Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson, and Leeland Moorin
King Of My Heart by John Mark McMillan and Sarah McMillan
Starlight by Amanda Cook, Bobby Strand, Brian Johnson, and Lindsey Strand
Great Are You Lord by Steve Cook and Vikki Cook
Brother by David Gungor, Ian Cron, and John Arndt