You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. neighbours hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Not the scribes, teachers, priests, not even John the Baptist had given a discourse on love such as this. Love was not unknown in the scriptures but none of the prophets had matched this approach by Jesus. His principle of love was directly opposed to the Jewish commentaries regarding the letter of the law.the spirit of forgiveness of sacrifice was not something that emanated from the maxims of a successful life. It is a summons to love beyond the abilities of humanity too envisage. This is not what the crowd wanted; here was a response to there nationalistic fervour and it was a total let down. The image of their messiah was flatly rejected by the man on which they had pinned their hopes. The people were disillusioned. It was there own desires not Jesus portrayal.
The historical contents of the sayings of Jesus lead us (stauffer says) to conclude that Jesus never chose to refer to himself as the messiah. How different are we? If we do not have tangible, quantifiable results of our faith, the signs and wonders that Jesus lamented we demand, does our faith wail. Blessed are those who believe but have seen no signs or wonders, John 20:29) Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ no hint of Gods glory, only the harsh realities of life through which we earnestly and fruitlessly try and discern the genuine love of God. Jesus preached love, a real forgiving sacrificial love but yet grieved lives futility in a world of material values. Hard fact of humanity is they are on the lookout for practical and tangible results. John 4:48 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’and when they don't get them, they turn. Luke 4:28. When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.
In many cases love is actually powerless. love has in itself no immediate tangible benefits. Infant it is often costly, it hurts, it creates tears and heartache. We are therefore hard put to find where the love of God can be, hidden behind tangible realities which rather suggest that God does not exist, or that he never speaks, or that he is angry. How else do we cope with prayers that seem answered, when we pray for answers. because although one maybe seemingly be answered here and there, for all the millions of prayers that are prayed each day throughout the world, very few are ever answered as we would wish, and most ultimately will fail or be reversed. Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry soon realised that what was wanted of him was utilitarian benefits. We will follow you if, we will believe in you if…. but he continued to preach the love of God and the God of love but those who wanted to hear his true meaning were perilously few. His disciples didn't get it, instead they talked amongst themselves about how was to sit and his right, the power the authority.
The disciples were exactly like the other hearers who came to the foothills and shores of Galilee, and why wouldn’t they be, they came seeking worldly profit, a break from the harsh realities of their daily lives, not love; costly, sacrificial love. Matthew 12:39; But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Mark 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And that is the the problem once more with our faith today, the disciples were pretty much like the rest of us, a collection of no good cowards and weaklings who didn’t get it. And we are no different. We look for utilitarian profit, in whatever way we see it, for ourselves. We want to feel love, but somehow we want to see it for ourselves, that we are loved and perhaps they over there are not. We are the chosen people, therefore they over there are not.
We haven’t changed. it is part of our humanity, Jesus saw this and loved us and died for the weakling and the coward that are us, and our faith is called to respond. Not that we love God, but that God loves us. We don’t believe because we have seen the love of God, blessed are those says Jesus who believe and yet have not seen. That is faith. It is easily to believe when you have seen the miracles and yet what about those stories of Jesus which are different. The Gospels have many stories about Jesus and the lost and rejected. There are, according to Endo two kinds, the first the miracle healing stories and the other consolation stories where Jesus simply shares with them in their pitiable sufferings. For me the consolation stories have a greater sense of reality, they demonstrate more the character of Jesus, the real Jesus, Luke 7:36, And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘speak.’ ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ mark 5:25. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’
It is not about the healing, what is the wonderment is that Jesus felt all the woman heartbreak and suffering through the touch of her finger against his clothing. In the consolation stories, which no explanation, which aren’t tinged with a sort of magic, but yet express clearly the life like picture of Jesus, Jesus is spending time on these sorrows in the sort of men and women in whom others paid no attention at all. For Jesus knew that poverty and disease are not necessarily the hardest things to bear, the harder thing is to live in the loneliness and hopelessness that accompanies disease and poverty. It is that which he sort to overcome and that which we can also do.