Jesus of Galilee
OLD LAW AND NEW
Jesus continued to demonstrate to the multitude the contrast between the Old Law and the New. They must have been astonished at this approach, for he told them further: "You have heard it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, 'Do not resist one who is evil.'
"But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you."
In the Old Law, man "paid back" his brother, "getting even" without delay when an injury was received. If the man was just and his intentions good, he may have helped the other pay off a Karmic debt quickly in this way, but he took another on himself, for every action begets reaction. There are exceptions when one is responsible for the teaching and discipline of students or children.
In order to be free of unending involvement with pain, man must let God take care of the justice in most situations, except where it is possible to help a man see his own error. Again if someone is dangerous to the well-being of others, he must be restrained accordingly -- but not with selfish motives, never with rancor nor revenge. Man must begin to rely on God and on His higher Law, above that given by Moses.
Those who profess to serve God must have goodness in themselves beyond the goodness of men. In the Old Way, a man implied, "I'll come halfway, providing you come the other half."
In Jesus' teachings, there is no half-way measure permissible. The other fellow's actions give you no excuses. You simply come all the way anyway, and thus there is no altercation laid at your door, for all is between you and God.
Jesus continued drawing comparisons -- "You have heard that it said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you that hear, 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.'
"To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."
This saying, "As ye would that men do unto you, do ye also to them likewise" has become famous as the Golden Rule, a clear and simple statement of brotherly love which, if followed, is sufficient to make a heaven on earth.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say, 'If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Or what reward have you? For even sinners and tax collectors love those who love them.'
"And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
"And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind even to the ungrateful and the selfish.
"Do these things so that you may be sons of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."
It is not enough to give up our old lives, our goods, and our time. God can accept us fully as His sons only if we become like unto Him. Seek to know what He is like and emulate Him. He makes more than ample allowance for our comparative smallness; and for a living example to show us how, He sent Jesus in the same form that we bear.
Jesus said to the people then, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
Through giving of any kind, grace is accrued, and he who has developed within himself a store of spiritual riches, has also the living nucleus for all that could ever be required.
But he whose heart and soul are barren, though judged wealthy by standards of the world, must face the decay of all he has. For it has no more life than he.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also."
While giving of love and goods is unlimited, there is one area where caution was advised, for he said, "Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you."
This is a very simple way of saying a great deal. You have found pearls of Truth and are eager to share their precious beauty with all you meet. But some are not ready to appreciate them, and no matter how we expound, they have not yet gained within themselves anything to which they can relate this; for a person can only grasp what his own experience responds to.
Of what use is a pearl to a swine? He would merely paw at this bauble, or bite it. Show them the book of your most precious revelations and they would drag it through the mud, for how could they know? Neither do sacramental things mean anything to a dog; you have to deal with every creature in the things that he can understand, in order to help him at all, not to mention protecting that which is precious from degradation.
One must use the same precautions with people and judge accordingly. In some cases where you tell them too much, they may use this as a basis of attack, thinking you are the one amiss. Give them what they need now, only as much as they can digest; and let them know there is more where that came from, with even better to come. If they refuse you utterly, leave them with their beliefs and devote your time to those who are hungry for the Christ, who know the value of a pearl and can intelligently accept it.
Neither must you be taken in by high-sounding phrases or the beguiling exterior of those who seek to teach you. For he said, "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
"Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Thus you will know them by their fruits.
Again he warned the untaught against teaching each other. Let them wait until the teacher has taught them fully and approved them as able to carry forth the truth of his word, then let them teach. He told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher."
Jesus said a man must choose which way he will take, the one or the other. He can get nowhere straddling a fence, and he cannot do justice to more than one purpose. "No one can serve two masters," he said, "for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
"You cannot serve God and mannon. Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
"Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
"Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
"And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying 'What shall we eat? or 'What shall we wear?' For the unbelievers are content to seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
"Be not anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.
"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
"You then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the Law and the prophets.
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."