When the religious experts slander Jesus, Jesus turns the situation into an object lesson. The Pharisees define for us what Jesus means when he says God will judge us for every "careless word" we speak. This helps disciples test ourselves to make sure we continue to make progress in growing to be like Jesus.
Jesus's invitation to discipleship is to let him rule our lives as our Lord and Teacher. He promises that if we do, he will save us. Further, the lessons he teaches, the way he guides us to live in righteousness brings rest to our souls rather than weariness.
Disciples of Jesus serve the Father, who is unseen. Therefore, Christian service is most genuine when only the Father knows about it.
This "turn the other cheek" teaching from Jesus is correctly recognized as calling Christians to non-resistance. Over the years there has been some controversy over whether this passage means that Christians cannot fight in wars or defend their homes and family from threats to life and property. While it is possible that Christians must consider this passage in such situations, it is also important that Jesus does not include those kinds of threats in his illustrations of how to practice the Christian principle of non-resistance.
In this study, we notice that Jesus calls his followers--anyone who wants to practice what is genuine righteousness--to follow his lead in coming alongside others as friends. These others are those who treat one's self wickedly, such as an insulting and belittling slap in the face or a lawsuit to forcibly claim property from you. Jesus earned a reputation as "friend of sinners," and he calls us to do likewise.
Matthew 5: 33-37
"Cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye!" As kids, we might have vowed this silly vow to assure someone else that they could believe what we were telling them. As adults, we have other rituals: "Put it in writing"; "Shake on it"; or, "I promise." In the teaching in this part of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls Christians back to God's righteous way of simply telling the truth. Always. Only the truth.
It is tempting for disciples of Jesus to let their eyes wander to things they might never let there hands reach for. Jesus teaches his disciples to recognize this as a sign that the heart continues to need his transforming power for righteousness. This is exactly what he came to provide for all who will believe in him.
Jesus teaches that the full understanding of the commandment, "You shall not murder," is that God condemns even our being angry with someone. Therefore, Jesus teaches his disciples to devote themselves to helping one another resolve their anger and make peace as soon as possible.
Jesus announces the great theme of his Sermon on the Mount: his teachings make it possible for God's people to understand and practice the Law in the full way that God intended.
Jesus introduced the famous images of "salt of the earth" and "city on a hill" in this early part of his Sermon on the Mount. He uses these images to teach his followers what he has called them to be for this world that is destined for destruction. If Jesus were to teach this lesson again today, rather than salt and lamplight, he might use the image of scented candles.