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Living the Life God Intended – Talk 11 – Retaliation & Resistance

This talk on Living the Life God intended is about Jesus’ teaching on retaliation and non-violent resistance, in Matt 5:38-42. To listen to the audio teaching of these notes, click on


Jesus says in Matt 5:38-42 that it’s not about payback, but about self-sacrifice in non-violent resistance of evil people. This 5th ‘antithesis’ of Jesus is closely tied to the 6th in Matt 5:44-48, as seen in Luke who reverses the order and joins them (Lk 6:27-36). Taken together, Jesus’ basic point is to value people and relationships above self-security and possessions. I.e. unselfishness, motivated by love – even as in self-sacrifice, even for one’s enemies – is mature human flourishing, The Life God intended. That effectively resists and defeats evil while saving others. How so? We are brought to completion in living our Father’s perfect nature of loving mercy (Matt 5:48 cf. Lk 6:38) – which God’s Son embodied and modelled for us.

However, as per Matthew’s order, Jesus’ 5th ethical issue is about the lex talionis: the law of retaliation, or principle of retribution, “an eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” (Jesus quotes Ex 21:24, Lev 24:19-20). This law was well-known in Palestine and ancient Near Eastern cultures. It was a ‘ready-made’ judicial formula for a just punishment, which was seen by all as equal justice in the courts of law.

When a person perpetrates an injustice, does some injurious or hurtful action against you, there are three ways to respond: 1) retaliate violently, or 2) take the person to court for a just reversal of the action (lex talionis), or 3) passively accept it with no response or retaliation – ‘just suck it up’! Jesus offers another creatively redemptive way that cuts through and transcends all three. And he uses deliberate exaggeration to illustrate it.

The lex talionis was originally given to restrain violence, not to foster retribution or vengeance. It was given to limit retaliation or payback to a sentence of fair punishment for the perpetrator. The problem was that, by quickly taking people to court, this law was used to justify vindictiveness in the name of justice! People readily took each other to court in that society, as it is today. That practice had no redemptive power. It didn’t expose and defeat the evil behind such attitudes and actions, both in the victim and the perpetrator. At worst, it could become a vicious cycle of injury and legalised retaliation, a downward spiral of violent reciprocation and more revenge, which can continue for generations in families and communities! Jesus’ answer to resistance and retaliation of evil people runs along far deeper heart channels.

Jesus did not say “resist evil” as in abstract evil. He says, “do not resist an evil person.” Firstly, he refers to unjust evil acts done by others against you, stated in Deut 19:19-21. He refers to those through whom evil operates. Evil works through people who allow it, as we see in Peter’s actions in Matt 16:21-23. The more one allows it, the more one becomes “an evil person”. I.e. over time evil (spirit) incarnates itself in persons, and in socio-political-economic structures that people develop. Evil seeks to make people and communities in its own image, just as God incarnates him/herself in us individually and corporately by Holy Spirit, as godly image bearers.

Secondly, the word “resist” (antistenai) was used for war, to ‘stand against’ enemies, for violent revolt as in Barabbas’ insurrection (Lk 23:19,25). Zealots, among other groups in Jesus’ day, taught a holy war theology, saying one can use violence in God’s name to “resist” Israel’s enemies. They saw the occupying Romans, including non-Torah-keeping Jews, as evil. Their enemies were God’s enemies, to be purged from the Holy Land. So, in saying “do not resist evil”, Jesus is not teaching passive docility, rather, do not repay kind with kind, don’t retaliate against personal or structural violence with violence. Jesus himself resisted evil, the question was about the means, the how. Paul used antistenai in Eph 6:13, of our spiritual warfare against all forms of evil. Paul “resisted” Peter to his face, because love demanded it, due to Peter’s unresolved racism that damaged the gospel and fellow believers (Gal 2:11-15).

However, “I tell you, do not resist an evil person” is in the context of the lex talionis, meaning “don’t resist in a court of law; don’t take them to court!” This interpretation is required in the second of the four examples below that Jesus gives, though it applies to all. This instruction by Jesus contradicts the old covenant, but makes sense in the context of Matt 5:17-20. I.e. even the lex talionis points to Jesus and it’s fulfilment of the (S)spirit of the law: though instituted to curb retaliatory evil due to the hardness of people’s hearts, the lex talionis failed; but a time will come when resistance and retaliation will be transcended in self-sacrifice, forgiveness and compassion. That is the life God intended. That defeats evil.

Jesus said, that time had come! He was fulfilling the prophesy of the new covenant, the way of living where obedience sprang from a new heart in-dwelt by God’s Spirit, a renewed mind formed by God’s Word (Jer 31:31-14, 32:38-40, Ezek 36:26-27). Jesus’ four examples show what this looks like, how radical this was in his day:

“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” To strike someone on the right cheek in a right-handed society meant a backhanded slap. It was the most grievous insult, humiliating injustice, in the ancient world – besides spitting in a person’s face (Is 50:6) – no matter the reason for such a “klap” (as South Africans say). One can retaliate by hitting back, or take the person to court, or passively accept it. Jesus’ new covenant way transcends these. His kingdom response is to turn and offer the other cheek. This causes the perpetrator to have to consciously change posture to take up your offer to slap you, this time with the open palm of their hand, the so-called ‘normal’ way of hitting a person. It forces the perpetrator to pause and think and decide if they will actually do it… or not… exposing the unjust heart of the perpetrator to him/herself and all who see the evil act. Plus, the victim or survivor maintains dignity due to a dignified nonviolent response that exposes and defeats the evil intent behind the insulting backhand.

“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” In the ancient world people sued one another to recover what was owed to them, as it is today. They could even legally sue the shirt off your back – the inner garment. The poor generally only had an inner garment and outer coat. BUT the law protected the poor victim by legislating that one’s outer coat could not be taken from them, no matter what, because it was what people slept in, keeping them warm at night (Ex 22:26-27). Jesus’ deliberately exaggerated kingdom response, in this case, goes against Torah teaching and the law courts. It exposes the evil behind a person who, having taken all your possessions, now takes you to court to get your shirt! So give them your outer coat as well. Just imagine, having given away your shirt and outer garment, walking home in your loin cloth (underpants)? This hyperbole exposes and embarrasses the humiliating injustice of the person taking your shirt as ‘legal retaliation’, as their ‘right’ to make you utterly destitute. With such a nonviolent response, your dignity will ironically be affirmed, and people will see the injustice, and the evil behind it will be unmasked and defeated.

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” The occupying Roman soldiers had the legal right to force Jews – any local natives in the Empire – to do certain types of work (see Mk 15:21). They commonly made locals carry their ‘army pack’. But the law limited it to one mile so that they didn’t exploit people to the point of death from exhaustion by forcing them to carry their load for many miles under the hot sun. It was known that Zealots – ordinarily dressed Jews, but freedom fighters – would carry a Roman soldier’s load for a mile, then look for a bush along the road to lay it down. When the soldier bent down to pick up his load, the Zealot would take out his sicarri, a dagger hidden under his belt, and cut the soldier’s throat. He then went on his way praising God that he’d killed an infidel in the Name of the Lord for Israel’s liberation. Jesus instructs his followers, including his apostle Simon the Zealot, to go two miles as an act of nonviolent resistance – even as an act of loving smiling service to the oppressor. Imagine the effect on a Roman soldier? That would have raised many an eyebrow in Jesus’ day. He taught it in Galilee, the hotbed of Jewish revolutionary activity. Jesus’ way was to resist and defeat evil by creative redemptive acts that gave dignity to the victim of injustice and moved the heart of the perpetrator, exposing the evil behind the unjust action.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” This follows up on suing a person for the shirt off his back. Jesus endorses Torah teaching on giving and lending money. Kingdom people must lend money to the needy without charging interest (Ex 22:25, Lev 25:37), especially before the 7th Sabbath year of release when all debts were forgiven (Deut 15:9). But Jesus goes further, teaching unselfish giving in a spirit of generosity. Lend money without expecting to get it back, viewing it as your giving to God. The OT stressed giving to the poor (Deut 15:7-11; Ps 112:5,9; Prov 19:17, 22:9), but it does not mean that Jesus is teaching giving without discernment, giving out of guilt or manipulation, giving to everyone all the time, especially those who seek a ‘soft touch’ (Prov 11:15, 17:18).

Again, these four examples deal with the heart attitude, the “better righteousness” of the new covenant, the life God intends for us. They are examples of Jesus’ kingdom fulfilment of the spirit of the law; i.e. his Messianic Torah. And he goes even further in the 6th (last) antithesis regarding love of enemy.

Having interpreted these four examples of Jesus in the context of his day, how do we apply that meaning to our context today? What is Jesus saying to us in our particular world?

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Living The Life God Intended – Talks 3 & 4 – “Blessed be…”

This third and fourth teaching in ‘Living The Life God Intended’ introduces Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and his ‘blessed be’s”. To listen to the audios click on these links – I taught the beatitudes in two talks:

Intro to the “Blessed Be’s…”


The “Blessed be’s” is Jesus’ intro to human flourishing – living life as God intended. They are typical Jewish wisdom sayings that invert what the world values (e.g. Psalm 1:1, 37:11, Prov 1:20-33). How do we understand and interpret them? Are they character virtues that we must aspire to in order to flourish and live the good life? No! That would be a ‘works gospel’; i.e. we then enter the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH) by human merit of certain virtues. The eight beatitudes do not prescribe who we have to be or what we must do to enter and live in the KOH – to enter the KOH is all grace-gift! They describe the kinds of people – yet not all – who flock after Jesus (Matt 4:23-25 cf. Matt 5:1-8), who enter the KOH by repentance and faith (Matt 4:17), not by merit of character virtues. While Moses’ Ten Commandments prescribe ‘holy living’, Jesus’ eight Beatitudes describe ‘people conditions’ that enter the KOH and live the repentant reconditioned life, God’s eternal kind of life here and now.

We are blessed not because we are poor in spirit, or because we mourn, or are humble, or hungry for justice, or merciful, etc, but because we receive the KOH. The blessing is not in the condition, but in the Kingdom, which reconditions us into living the life of the new covenant. This is made clear by the ‘enclosure’ (technically called an inclusio) of Matt 5:3 and Matt 5:10; the opening and closing repetition “for theirs is the KOH” means that all those between these two equally receive the KOH, but as either comfort, justice, inheritance, mercy, seeing God, being called the children of God, depending on their ‘condition’ or need.

In Hebrew, to be “blessed” is to have the favor of God’s promised KOH. Greek makarios (Matt 5:3, “blessed”) literally means ‘so happy… to be envied’. It described the life of the gods. It was the name of a totally self-resourcing Greek island that flowed with water and food, so that the other islands envied it. The common view today of the blessed life is: “blessed are the self-sufficient, the rich, those who laugh, who party, the educated, the powerful, the winners.” But not so from God’s perspective! He sees differently. He inverts what the world values.

Jesus’ method of teaching was to subvert the dominant consciousness by exposing the wrong assumptions that the coming KOH challenges. So we must “repent”, change our thinking, see from God’s viewpoint! Paul Simon captured this kind of inversion in his song, “Blessed are the sat on, spat on, ratted on!” The KOH comes to those who are lost, despised, desperate, marginalized, persecuted… THEY are blessed, not due to their condition, but because they receive the KOH and are transformed by it. We must open your eyes to see what God is doing, what the good life of the KOH is, and who is entering and flourishing in it. Thus Jesus looks out over the crowd and his disciples sitting near him (Matt 5:1), and says…

The Beatitudes


So happy and to be envied are the poor in spirit. They are those who are aware of their spiritual bankruptcy, their need of God, their lost state. This includes the materially poor and needy (Lk 6:20). They are blessed with the coming KOH because they receive God’s favor by entering the good life. They are reconditioned with God’s forgiveness and rich resources that are available to all people in God’s Kingdom, not only at the end of this age, but here and now.  

So happy and to be envied are those who mourn. They are those who weep (Lk 6:21) due to personal sin and pain, grief of the loss of loved ones, who suffer life’s hurts, who mourn for society’s corruption and evil (Ps 119:136). They are blessed because the KOH comes upon them and are favored with the promised Messianic comfort of Isaiah 40:1-2. The promised Holy Spirit comes on them, forgives them, restores them, holds them, indwells and guides them.

So happy and to be envied are the meek (quoting Ps 37:9,11 cf. Ps 2:8). They are those who are seen as the weak because they refuse to take things into their own hands to bring about the KOH – even by force, if necessary, like the Zealots and other activists. The meek in Israel were the restrained, the godly, who humbly waited on God for his intervention to give them Israel’s inheritance, which was not just a slice of real estate in the Middle East, but the whole earth! They are blessed in Jesus bringing the KOH because it already gives them, in principle, their inheritance. They will receive it’s fullness at the end of the age when the KOH comes in the promised resurrection of those who will rule and reign over the whole earth.

So happy and to be envied are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; those who are desperate for God’s justice, truth, covenant faithfulness, right-way-of-living… in the face of injustice, oppression and literal hunger. The Hebrew root for righteousness is justice; i.e. covenant faithfulness that gives right-standing-with-God and justice in relationships and society. They are blessed because the coming of the KOH in Jesus makes the future justice of God’s Day of Judgement available to all who cry out for it right now. God’s favor fills them with what they need, with what was promised (see Isaiah 25:6-7).

So happy and to be envied are the merciful; those who are compassionate and seek to help others in need; those who carry the hope of God’s mercy on the Day of Judgement (Micah 7:18-19). They are blessed not because they are merciful, but because the KOH has come in Jesus and they receive future mercy now, as in the forgiveness of sin, healing of sickness, deliverance from demons, pain, poverty, etc.

So happy and to be envied are the pure in heart; those who were regarded as ‘clean’ and ‘undefiled’ in Israel; i.e. who recognized God alone was their help and reward (see Ps 73:1-28). They are blessed because they will not only see God on Judgement Day (as some did in the Exodus, Ex 24:9-11), but they already see God in Jesus’ KOH mission & ministry. Entering the Kingdom they see God, and what he is doing, in all things.

So happy and to be envied are the peacemakers; those who seek the way of peace, and not violence, to bring about the KOH. As a Jewish rabbi Jesus would be speaking of ‘shalom-makers’, as in seeking God’s peace (shalom is reconciliation, order, harmony, unity, prosperity, wholeness) based on right relationship with God, each other, and creation. They are blessed because, in receiving the Kingdom as Christ’s follower, the end-time declaration of “son (child) of God” is theirs here and now. And THAT reconditions them to live out the nature of their Father, living the life God intended.

So happy and to be envied are those who are persecuted for righteousness (Matt 5:10-12). They are those who stand for truth, justice, integrity; the ‘whistle blowers’ and prophetic challengers of the unjust powers and corrupt society. They are blessed not because they do this, but because “theirs is the KOH”; i.e. the KOH is their reward not only at the end of the age, but here and now in the coming of King Jesus.

Jesus then personalizes it: “Blessed are you if you’re persecuted because of (following) me, because not only are you fulfilling the prophetic tradition – suffering for righteousness – but great is your reward in heaven.” After 400 years of ‘silence’ from heaven (after Malachi there were no more prophets in Israel), God spoke through John the baptizer – whom Jesus called the greatest of the prophets (Matt 11:11). And then God spoke fully through King Jesus… and his followers. Jesus saw his followers as the prophetic community of the KOH, God’s witness to both earthly and spiritual powers, and to society, of what the Rule and Reign of God looks like in this age.

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Living the Life God Intended – Talk 2 – The Kingdom of Heaven

This is the second in my new series Living The Life God Intended – Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For the audio teaching click

Last week was an introduction to Matthew’s view of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah whose coming fulfills the Hebrew (prophetic) scriptures. He particularly presents Jesus as the promised ‘new Moses’ as per Deut 18:18-19. Here I look at the narrative context that leads into his ‘inaugural speech’ called The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 to 7). After Jesus’ water baptism and Spirit anointing, and 40 days in the wilderness of testing, Jesus enters ‘The Promised Land’ (Israel).Then does three things by the Spirit’s power:

Proclaims the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH), Matt 4:16-17: “Repent, for the KOH is near, is available!” Repent, metanoia, means to turn away from sin and turn toward God in faith. How? By a ‘change (meta) of thinking (noia)’ in order to see, and receive, God’s promised rule and reign here and now. To repent is to change from wrong thinking, and thus wrong doing, to see and join what God is doing.

Most Jews at that time missed and rejected what God was doing in Jesus: specifically his offer of God’s Kingdom, to enter and live the life of the future KOH here and now. Their rejection of Jesus and his message led to him being killed, because he didn’t meet their expectation of a Messiah who would drive out the oppressive Roman occupation. The Jewish Messiah would establish God’s Kingdom by military victory over Israel’s enemies. Jesus did it differently! His view of the KOH was that God’s future rule and reign was breaking in, was being inaugurated, in his person and ministry.

The Jews used ‘heaven’ as a synonym for ‘God’, so ‘Kingdom of God’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ meant the same thing. And ‘heaven’ was not empty space ‘way up there’ beyond the ozone layer. It meant God’s promised Rule & Reign present and active in real life by the power of his invisible Spirit. The KOH that Jesus’ proclaimed was not outwardly dramatic as in military might, but spiritually present in the power of God’s saving love. God can be present and active right beside us, but unless we change our seeing and thinking we won’t recognize and experience it. We’ll miss it; oppose it; even try to kill it!

Forms KOH Community, Matt 4:18-22: “Come, follow me, and I will make you to fish people.” Jesus called people from various occupations to follow him, and be formed in his community, to ‘fish’ the world into God’s Kingdom. He first called fishermen and thus he would make them into fishers of people; i.e. he turns our daily occupation into our life-long Kingdom vocation (our calling). The call to follow, be formed, and to fish, included all who responded to his KOH proclamation, from all walks of life, at varying levels of ‘following’.

His express purpose was to embody his mission and message in his revolutionary KOH movement (community), believing it was the renewed Israel (he chose 12 apostles to symbolize the 12 patriarchs of Israel) of the new Exodus into the promised land of the KOH.

Demonstrates the KOH, Matt 4:23-25: Jesus goes everywhere ‘teaching… preaching… and healing…” – the words, the works and the wonders of the KOH.

Here we have Matthew’s summary picture of Jesus defeating Israel’s enemy – Satan’s kingdom of sin, sickness, demons, death, pain, poverty and injustice – by the Spirit’s power. This echoes Moses’ 10 plagues defeating Pharaoh’s top 10 gods by the finger of God (Ex 8:19). The new Moses delivers Israel out of Egypt by miracles, signs and wonders. And “large crowds” – a great diversity of people from all over, including Gentiles – flocked to him, and followed him in his new Exodus of the KOH.

Introduction to The Sermon the Mount

Matt 5 to 7 is the inaugural speech of King Jesus to his ‘citizens’ who gather to him. His theme is how to receive and live the eternal life of the future Rule and Reign of God here and now in the present. Simply put, he teaches human flourishing. He answers questions like: What is the good life? Who lives the good life? And who is truly a good person? How do we become good persons? Jesus sums it up in his use of ‘the two ways’ in Matt 7:13-14, the easy, broad, popular route is the way of life that leads to destruction, and there’s the more challenging narrow way that leads to life – the life God intended – God’s eternal quality and kind of life that we can enter and live here and now.

To accurately understand what Jesus was teaching we must apply a key principle of interpretation (‘hermeneutics’): what did his words first mean to Jesus’ hearers and Matthew’s readers in their context? Then we can apply that meaning to us today in our context. If we don’t follow this method we will impose our meaning on the text. This principle will guide us throughout this series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

“When he saw the crowds, he went up a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying…” (5:1). Having begun the new Exodus out of Satan’s kingdom, King Jesus is the new Moses going up a mountainside, as Moses went up Sinai to receive and bring Torah. Jesus sits down to teach just as Moses then taught God’s Covenant – God’s revealed will for human flourishing. I.e. Jesus brings, teaches and fulfills The New Covenant promised by the Hebrew prophets (see Jeremiah 31:27-34, Ezekiel 36:24-28). Jesus speaks the living words God puts in his mouth, fulfilling Deuteronomy 18:18. Furthermore, Matthew’s five teaching sections, the Messianic Torah, has an ‘inclusio’ of three chapters at the start (5 to 7) and at the end (23 to 25). So, Matt 5:1 and the “blessed be’s” are echoed and contrasted in Matt 23:1-2 and the “woe be’s” (read and compare). To “sit and teach” (5:1) is to sit in “Moses’ seat” (23:2), having authority to teach Torah as the Scribes and Pharisees did. BUT the new young rabbi from Nazareth had direct authority from God as the new Moses, not like the teachers of The Law whose authority came from relying on the interpretations of other rabbis when they taught (see Matt 7:28-29).

Matthew draws a distinction between “the crowds” and “disciples.” The crowds flocked to Jesus from all over, mostly due to the healings and miracles (4:23-25). But the disciples – who stood out from the crowds – followed him for teaching and formation in the Life (new covenant) of the KOH. The word ‘disciple’ meant a ‘disciplined learner’, a student or apprentice of their master. Disciples followed Jesus, lived with him to learn from him, to do what he did, to teach
what he taught. In short, to become like him. “His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying…” Are you part of the crowd or are you a disciple of Jesus who draws nearer, who actually follows, who submits to his teachings? Go beyond coming to Jesus for what you can get out of him and commit your whole life to following him, to be a ‘disciplined leaner’ – learning from Jesus daily how to live your life as he would if he were you – living The Life God intended.

There is evidence that the Early Church used this body of teaching, The Sermon on the Mount, as a ‘catechism’ for new believers. As we go through these teachings we will appreciate it’s value as a discipling or training ‘manual’ for followers of Jesus – hence my motivation in teaching this series.

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Living The Life God Intended – Intro 1

Follow me in this new teaching series in both audio and ‘sermon notes’.
For the audio of these notes click on

Title of the Series
How do we live life today? How can we live ‘the good life’ in all the pressures and challenges of daily life? How can we not only survive, but thrive? In this series I go through Jesus’ unique view on living life as God intended – to live The Life that God intends – the eternal kind of life of God’s Kingdom of Heaven. That means, living life under God’s rule & reign, as found in Jesus’ body of teaching called ‘The Sermon on the Mount’, in Matthew 5 to 7.

Matthew as biographer of Jesus
Matthew was also called Levi. He was a tax-collector, a most despised sinner who exploited his own Jewish people (collecting taxes for the Romans) and partied with really ‘bad’ people! Responding to Jesus’ call – God’s Kingdom had come and he must follow Jesus – Matthew became Jesus’ disciple (Matt 9:9-13). He lived with Jesus and his Kingdom community for three years. After Jesus’ death and resurrection (in 30 or 31 AD) Matthew was a leader in the Early Church. He wrote his carefully constructed biography of Jesus (called a ‘Gospel’) from Antioch in early to mid 60s CE. He wrote for Greek-speaking Jewish readers, hence his emphasis on the Hebrew scriptures and all things Jewish!

He presents Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish King, the long-awaited Messiah (The Anointed), in fulfillment of God’s promises in the scriptures. A key word in Matthew is ‘fulfill’. Jesus is not only King of the Jews but of ALL who receive him as such, Gentiles included! As God’s King, his message was to announce, and his mission was to offer, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ (KOH) to Israel. Matthew uses this phrase in contrast to Mark and Luke’s ‘Kingdom of God’, in keeping with the Jewish usage of ‘heaven’ in place of ‘God’, in respect of ‘The Holy One’. But this King, and the coming of his Kingdom, was also presented as the fulfillment and climax of Israel’s story, the promised new Moses leading a new Exodus to a new land – the KOH.

Jesus as the New Moses
The way Matthew writes his story of Jesus, how he constructs his gospel shows Jesus as the ‘one like unto Moses’ promised in Deuteronomy 18:14-19 (read it). When God sends that greater prophet, God will give him words to teach – the living (Messianic) Torah – and all who do not listen to him will suffer the consequences of their rejection of him. To show Jesus as the new Moses, Matthew does the following…

  1. Moses was born, and hidden, under Pharaoh’s oppressive rule. Jesus was born under King Herod and then hidden in Egypt because Herod killed the male babies (Matt 2:13-18)
  2. Moses led Israel, God’s son, out of Egypt. So Jesus, God’s son, came out of Egypt (Matt 2:21).
  3. Moses led Israel through the waters of Exodus, so Jesus was baptized in water to symbolize a new Exodus for a (re)new(ed) Israel as God’s affirmed beloved son (Matt 3:13-17).
  4. As the Fiery Cloud led Israel through the wilderness for 40 years of testing, so the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days, symbolizing Jesus as the obedient son in place of Israel’s disobedience and rebellion (Matt 4:1-10).
  5. Jesus came out of the wilderness temptations into the Promised Land (Israel) in the power of the Spirit, exercising the authority of the KOH, offering the KOH (Matt 4:17).

Moses is the author and giver of Torah – God’s Word/Law – the first five books of the Bible. Matthew structures his Gospel around five teaching sections (each preceded by stories), to show that Jesus is the new Moses giving the Messianic Torah:
1. Matt 5 to 7: Teaching on The Life of the KOH, or Living Life in the KOH.
2. Matt 10: Teaching on the Ministry & Mission of the KOH.
3. Matt 13: Teaching on the Mystery & Nature of the KOH (‘already and not yet’).
4. Matt 18: Teaching on the Community of the KOH.
5. Matt 23 to 25: Teaching on the Coming Judgment & Salvation of the KOH.

Next week I do a further introduction to Living The Life God Intended, in preparation for Jesus’ teaching in ‘The Sermon on the Mount’.