Heart of the Law

Date

Apr 21, 2018

Sermon Series

In the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-39), Jesus states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Some believe that Jesus was saying that “eye for an eye” was no longer valid, thus should not be part of our lives. Yet others believe that Jesus was telling His followers that we have wrongly interpreted the principle. Is it possible that He, Jesus, was saying that there was a more noble application to the “eye for an eye” principle than retribution? Could it be that Jesus was not eliminating this long-lasting law, rather He wanted us to get to the “heart” of this law?

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive weekly sermon previews.
Thank you! Check your inbox to verify your subscription.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Dear Downers Church Family:

“This is horrific,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of the Iran Human Rights group (based in Oslo, Norway) told Newsweek in March of 2015.

The above statement referred to the literal “eye for an eye” punishment that was carried out on an Iranian prisoner in 2015. The man was convicted of blinding and disfiguring another man by throwing acid in his face in 2009.  As a consequence, the prisoner had his left eye gouged out at the Iranian prison. This practice is fairly uncommon yet has legitimate Sharia law basis under the principle called Qasis.

According to the Oxford Islamic Studies, Qasis is defined as, “Retribution. Prescribed in Islamic law for murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary killing, intentional physical injury, and unintentional physical injury. In cases of intentional killing and physical injury, the family or victim may waive retribution and exact monetary compensation.” Some define it as “legal retaliation.” 

Most Semitic people have origins with this principle of "life for a life," "eye for an eye," and "tooth for a tooth." The practicality of the principle has evolved over the years. Most applications in the modern day are monetary compensation. Yet certain circumstances might allow the literal application of taking an "eye for an eye" that was lost.

In the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-39), Jesus states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Some believe that Jesus was saying that “eye for an eye” was no longer valid, thus should not be part of our lives. Yet others believe that Jesus was telling His followers that we have wrongly interpreted the principle. Is it possible that He, Jesus, was saying that there was a more noble application to the “eye for an eye” principle than retribution? Could it be that Jesus was not eliminating this long-lasting law, rather He wanted us to get to the “heart” of this law?

Pastor Kent

Listen to all sermons on the go