Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus Rewrites Scripture

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

//Five times in this chapter, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins a topic with the words “You have heard.” Curious that Jesus would use these words, because the punch line resides in where they heard the words. They heard them in the synagogue, for each one is a quote from scripture.

In other words, Jesus felt it was permissible to say, “The scripture says this … but I say this.” Espousing a higher standard than scripture, Jesus calls his followers to step up to the next level.

Yet, today, we find it so hard to take this advice! We find it so hard to continue growing as Christians, if that means lifting ourselves above our beloved scripture. But how else is Christianity to continue advancing? How else are we going to draw nearer to Jesus’ vision of a Kingdom of Heaven on earth?

There is much good in scripture, but there is also much good in following Jesus’ example of rising above some of our scriptural teachings. One trendy example is the current issue over acceptance of homosexuality; it seems to me that the Bible’s stance is clear, yet as Christians, we are called to overcome such prejudices. Will we be able take the next step?