What Judaism says
Jesus’ teachings are so unrealistic that his disciples themselves don’t even follow them. For example…
Matthew 5:38-40 “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 anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
Jesus was not talking about foregoing self-defense and letting people physically hurt you or your family.
And of course there’s a verse where somebody says “Isn’t it the teaching of the New Testament that we’re supposed to turn the other cheek?” Again, you and I need to understand the Bible. I mean we can’t just quote the Bible and assume things. Let’s learn something about the Bible. Yes, the Bible does say turn the other cheek, if someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also (Luke 6:29). What’s it about? In the biblical culture, striking someone on the cheek was an insult. So lamentations 3:30 “Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him and let it be filled with disgrace.” Job got sick and he lost his children in his possessions and he was ridiculed and mocked and he says in Job 16:10 men open their mouths to jeer at me, they strike my cheek in scorn. So Christ said if someone strikes you on the cheek, if someone insults you, turn to him the other also. Don’t let somebody’s insult derail your whole life, says Jesus. It’s like today you’re walking down the street and somebody calls you a name. Are you going to run across the street, get into a fist fight, get thrown in jail, get your whole life derailed because somebody called you a name? And that’s what Christ is saying, don’t let anybody really derail your life with an insult. But Christ didn’t say if somebody murders your wife, marry again so he can murder the other one.
Turn the other cheek is not about capital crimes. It’s not about crime at all. What about drawing the sword? You know in the night of his arrest, Peter, Jesus’s disciple, took a sword and struck Malchus the servant of the high priest and Christ said “Put your sword back. All who draw the sword will die by the sword.” What’s the context of that? Well, the context of that, as much as we know the high priests were evil and were scheming. The fact of the matter is they had a legal arrest warrant for Jesus and they were carrying out that arrest warrant. And Peter drew his sword and struck at the force that was coming to arrest Christ. That kind of thing could happen a lot in America. Today, there’s lots of people who were falsely accused and the police show up at their door to arrest them. You know what would happen if you know you’re being falsely accused, the police are coming to your door and you go get your rifle and you start shooting the policeman. Yes, you die by the sword and what does Christ says. Look in that situation. Don’t draw the sword. But if we study our biblical history, that very afternoon, remember Christ was arrested at night, that very afternoon, Christ knew he was going to be arrested. He knew he was going to die, he knew things were going to get dicey so you know what he said? Luke 22:36: the same day he said “if you draw the sword you’ll die by the sword” he said “Now if you have a purse, take it in a bag and if you don’t have a sword, sell your coat and buy one.” Now why would Christ say sell your coat buy a sword if you couldn’t use it? It doesn’t make any sense. The context of the quote “if you draw the sword you’ll die by the sword” is if you draw the sword against the legal authorities it won’t go well with you.
And then people will tell me “ but bottom line, the death penalty can’t be loving” and I turn that right upside down and I’d say “absolutely it’s loving”. The Bible says, in fact Jesus Christ Himself said if you love me you will keep my Commandments and we saw that the death penalty is commanded by God. And it’s commanded by God to keep our society safe and if we love Him, we will obey Him. I want a safe society. I hope you do too. God and His Word tells us how to get one. Let’s be brave enough, bold enough to make sure that we can have that in society today. Our friends, our neighbors, our family, our children deserve that safe society.