Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Do you ever find Jesus’ teaching confusing? Consider these statements, “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9) and “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34), so which is it? If the good life is to be a peacemaker, but Jesus did not come to bring peace, are we at a crossroads or did Jesus bump his head between uttering each of these statements? The key to understanding is found, like every passage of scripture, in the context. Peacemaking by definition is active and as the second phrase above alludes it is costly. But fundamentally, at its core, peacemaking is the clear work and mission of Jesus that each of us is called to experience and participate in, which is the good life.