“And whosoever compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain,” Matthew 5:41.
During the Roman occupation of Israel in the first century, a Roman soldier could command a Jewish man or boy to carry his backpack or armor for one mile. It was the law; however, most Jews would not carry this soldier’s burden one inch or one foot further than the law required. This law caused terrible resentment among the Jews toward the Roman government. Can you imagine how the Jews felt when Jesus said, “…go the second mile?” No doubt, His audience said: “He must be kidding. Does He really expect us to do more than the law requires us to do?”
The Romans had conquered most of the known world and one of the marvels of their conquest was a vast system of super highways built to and from their conquered territories. At each mile was a stone marker that pointed direction, determined distance, and dangers. Each one of them had the miles to Rome etched upon them. This is where we get the phrase “all roads lead to Rome.” Christianity is a ‘second mile religion.’ As Christians, we are required to live in the second mile. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say anything about a Roman soldier. He says, “…and whosoever shall compel thee.”
Today this means if a neighbor, a co-worker, or a church member asks us to do something for them we should do twice as much as they expect us to do. Most Christians want to live in the first mile. To love your neighbor is the first mile; to love your enemy is the second mile. To bless those who bless you is the first mile; to bless those who curse you is the second mile. Praying for those who pray for you is the first mile; praying for those who despitefully use you is the second mile. As Christians, this requires us to love everybody and to persevere. Jesus went the second mile—all the way to the cross to die for you and me.
My weekly prayer is that the reader of this commentary becomes spiritually inspired of God.
Become a Prayer Partner with Expressions of Faith Ministry by contacting EOF at P.O. Box 330127, Nashville, Tenn. 37203; or e-mail <w310watson@aol. com> .God bless!