"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:43-48)
It is impossible. It is impossible to pray for those who persecute us. It is impossible to be perfect like the heavenly Father. If we are the children of God then we should be like him. He does not have favourites. He causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust; he makes the sun to rise bad and the good. What sense can we make of Israel as the chosen people of God? Are they not his favourites?
Israel is not chosen in order to be God’s special people while the rest of the world remains in outer darkness. Israel is chosen to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. Israel is chosen so that, through Israel, God can bless all people. They are chosen for a purpose, for a mission.
Jesus is the model for imitating the Father. He sowed us a new way of being human. When they mocked him, he did not respond. When the struck him, he took the pain. When the placed a cross on him, he carried it to the place of his own execution. When the nailed him to the cross, he prayed for them. So the Sermon on the Mount is not an advice for us, in stead it is the good news. It is about Jesus.
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. (Mt 5:38-42)
Jesus is offering a new sort of justice. The old type of justice, found in the Bible, was designed to prevent revenge running out of control. Better an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth than a fight in which one side going worse than the other. The old type of justice prevented the destruction of the weaker section by a powerful force. Old type of justice kept a sort of equality, though in a negative sense.
Jesus’ new type of justice is creative, healing, and restoring. There is no place for revenge in this type of justice. This justice asks man to reflect the patient love of God. This new type of justice will prove that there is a God in Israel. This God is the one true God and his deepest nature is overflowing love.
Jesus gives three examples to prove his point. When one hits the other on the cheek, hitting back will only keep the evil in circulation. Hitting on the right cheek is only an insult. It treats the one who is hit as an inferior or a slave. Offering the other cheek implies: hit me now as an equal. Offering him your cloak as well will shame your opponent with your impoverished nakedness. Walking an extra mile is only to show that there is another way of being human. Jesus’ way of being human is being Godly person.