Dec7SunDecember 7, 2014
“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” Mt 5:41.
Early in Jesus ministry here on earth, he began to teach His followers about attitude, character, and a greater perspective concerning the Law of Moses. He taught more than just what the law says, He taught the intent or spirit of the law. During His day, the Jewish people were not only expected to abide by the Law of Moses, but also the law of Rome. The law of Rome is where the above mentioned scripture finds its source.
Under Roman rule, a Roman soldier could compel a Jew to carry his armor or baggage for one mile on his journey. The mile was equivalent to 1000 paces. After that the Jew was free to go on with whatever they were doing previously. It did not matter whether the soldier needed the help or simply wanted to flaunt his authority, the Jew by Roman rule had to obey that command. There are many different scenarios that one can think of to imagine how difficult, disruptive, as well as displeasing and embarrassing this situation could be. But nevertheless, the Jew had no other choice than to do what was commanded or be punished for disobedience.
As unfair as it may appear, Jesus uses this rule to teach a higher level of living according to the Kingdom of God. Not only does Jesus say, “go twain” or go two miles, but He also says, “whosoever shall compel thee”. Some people will only take orders from their supervisor or superior. Others will take orders from no one. But Jesus says “whosoever” which means anyone who compels or presses you into public service – no matter how inconvenient or unreasonable the demands. He further says, “go two miles” instead of the mandated one. Go the Extra Mile.
Going the extra mile exceeds the expectation of man and glorifies the expectation of God. Going the Extra mile goes beyond the law and into God’s grace. Going the extra mile crucifies the flesh and frees your spirit. Going the extra mile prevents you from being overcome with evil and conquering evil with good. Going the extra mile demonstrates that you are in this world but not of this world. Going the extra mile indicates you serve a higher authority above and beyond that which has compelled you to do a task out of your comfort zone. Finally, going the extra mile develops the strength of God in you to overcome anything in this world.
Some think Jesus came to do away with the law and leave us with grace. But I find a new law: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that sets me free from the law of sin and death.” This new law doesn’t lower God’s standard. It actually raises the standard of resurrection life in Christ that causes us to excel to a higher standard of living in the power of God’s Spirit. Go the Extra Mile!