Matthew – Day 35 – Death of Evil
lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”
Also, recite The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus continued His teaching and instructed His disciples on how to handle evil in the world. Read Matthew 5:38-42 (out loud).
The Jewish Bible command “eye for an eye” was not to be abolished any more than the command “do not murder,” “do not commit adultery,” and “do not break your oath.”
So how do we make sense of the explanation – “do not resist an evil person?”
First, let’s look at the Old Testament to understand “eye for an eye”.
Read Leviticus 24:17-21 (out loud).
Does God value life? Is there a difference to God in the value of an animal’s life and a human’s life?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in the midst of some of the greatest evil of modern times – the Nazi regime. His insight into this section of the Sermon on the Mount is valuable in preparing us for what we might face in the future.
Bonhoeffer explained that the purpose of the Old Testament command was to establish a group of people who were fair and just. The laws helped them identify and overcome evil – forcing it out of the community of God’s people. In contrast, the more revenge was exacted or the more people retaliated against evil, the more evil was compounded. People did not live at peace with each other because evil kept growing.
“Evil will become powerless when it finds no opposing object, no resistance, but instead, is willingly born and suffered. Evil meets an opponent for which it is not a match.” By not retaliating against evil, it cannot achieve its goal, which is to create more evil. It remains alone. Suffering and willingly enduring evil is stronger than retaliating against it. As a matter of fact, it is the death of evil.
Did Jesus model this lifestyle?
Read Luke 22:51, Mark 14:65, and Mark 15:16-20 (out loud).
Bonhoeffer continued, “The one speaking here about overcoming evil with suffering is he who himself was overcome by evil on the cross and who emerged from that defeat as the conqueror and victor. There is no other justification for this commandment of Jesus than his own cross.”
What would happen in our world if we stopped responding to evil with evil? Would evil run rampant? Would evil die out? Would it make a difference?
I personally struggle with this because it seems that there is so much evil. What I do know is that responding to evil in a natural way with revenge does not draw attention because it is the natural thing to do. However, responding to evil with forgiveness and love makes people stop and ask why, and this is an opportunity to point people to Jesus.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Discipleship