· Does this command apply to all oaths?
· Can we then swear an oath in court? If not, what do we refuse?
· Sermon on the Mount
· It involves a new interpretation on swearing of oaths.
· To swear an oath falsely in the name of God was a sin not only against the name but against the very person of God. Later the scope of the commandment was broadened to include any light or thoughtless use of the divine name, to the point where it was judged safest not to use it at all.
· Realising the seriousness of swearing by God if the truth of the statement was not absolutely sure, people tended to replace the name of God by something else — by heaven, for example — with the idea that a slight deviation from the truth would then be less unpardonable.
· It was necessary that people should be forbidden to swear falsely, whether in the name of God or by any other form of words.
· Jesus recommends a higher standard to his disciples. “Do not swear at all, let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Mt 5:37)
· The idea that a man or woman can be trusted to speak the truth only when under oath springs from dishonesty and suspicion, and tends to weaken mutual confidence in the exchanges of everyday life.
· Jesus was emphasizing the importance of telling the truth. People were breaking promises and using sacred language casually and carelessly. Keeping oaths and promises is important; it builds trust and makes committed human relationship possible. The Bible condemns making vows or taking oaths casually, giving your word while knowing that you won’t keep it, or swearing falsely in God’s name. Oaths are needed in certain situations only because we live in a sinful society that breeds distrust.
· Are you known as a person of your word? Truthfulness seems so rare that we feel we must end our statements with “I promise”. If we tell the truth all the time, we will have less pressure to back up our words with an oath or promise.
· Can a Christian magistrate practise non-retaliation towards the criminal who comes up before him for judgment?
· Could a Christian king practise non-retaliation towards a neighbouring king who decleared war against him?
· Sermon on the Mount
· It involves a new interpretation of the Law of Moses on revenge.
· The assault is particularly vicious, for if the striker is right‑handed, it is with the back of his hand that he hits the other on the right cheek.
· Law of Moses contains the principle of exact retaliation: one eye for an eye, and no more; one life for a life, and no more.
· Jesus takes a further step: “Do not retaliate at all.” “Don’t harbour a spirit of resentment; if someone does you an injury or puts you to inconvenience, show yourself master of the situation by doing something to his advantage. If you gets some pleasure out of hitting you, let him hit you again.”
· It belongs to the sphere of personal behaviour.
· God’s purpose behind the OT law was an expression of mercy. The law was given to judges and said, in effect, “Make the punishment fit the crime.” It was not a guide for personal revenge. These laws were given to limit vengeance and help the court administer punishment that was neither too strict nor too lenient.
· When we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even. Instead, Jesus said we sould do good to those who wrong us! Our desire should not be to keep score, but to love and forgive. This is not natural — it is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance, pray for those who hurt you.