Work: Exceed What Is Expected
“If someone demands that you go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41)
Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – In the days of Jesus, the Roman Empire ruled. Literally. In the land of Israel there was a law where you as a Jewish citizen, were required if asked by a Roman soldier, to carry their pack one Roman mile or 1000 paces. So, it didn’t take them long to go out and put down mile markers. They might be subjected to carry the heavy pack of their oppressor one mile, but the second they got to that marker, they were done with it!
Yet Jesus said that if someone demands you go one mile, go with him two. Say WHAT??? Why would He say that?!? What would it have proven for His followers to carry the Roman soldier’s pack a second mile?
He was teaching His followers that the God of the New Testament was more than just Mose’s God of the Old Testament. Under those early laws, God allowed revenge to be taken equal to the harm that was done them. If a man knocked out the tooth of another man, the injured man could knock out a tooth of the one who hurt him. If a man had an eye blinded in a fight, the injured man could blind the eye of the man who hurt him. Hence, the saying, “an eye for an eye” was born.
Jesus comes along and says I am upping the ante. His New Testament teaching was against revenge. He taught that if someone hits you on the cheek, “turn the other cheek”. Can you imagine hearing this and later being told, not asked, by a Roman soldier (someone you didn’t like) to carry their stuff 1000 paces down the dusty road for them?!?
Imagine being that Roman soldier. You are following a Jewish citizen (who you know despises you) down the road and are approaching the mile marker. You prepare to have them drop your bag, but instead they keep walking as they pay particular attention to the mile marker on their right. Going the first mile was required, going the second meant going beyond what was expected. You know its not an accident, because they looked at the mile marker. “Hey Jew, why are you going beyond what is required?” “Because Jesus told us to love our enemies.” “HUH?!?!”
Think it will be noticed amongst the lack-luster “do just enough to get by”, “cut the corners” society of today; when instead, you “go the extra mile”? I am pretty sure the Roman soldiers certainly did.
After all, didn’t Jesus go the extra mile for us?…
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Matthew 5:41 ESV)