Turn The Other Cheek – Luke 6.29-30

“To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either.”

(NET)

This is so often misunderstood.

We often see this being talked about in the context of a fight, some kind of physical altercation. Something like, well, if this guy hits you, let him him you on the other cheek too. Or, maybe, if someone is being rude or aggressive towards you, simply turn the other cheek and walk away. Is that what Jesus meant?

Culturally being struck on the cheek was a public form of rejection, something like being expelled from the local synagogue or being shamed out of the community because of something you’ve done. Think about the passage in which Jesus has said this: blessed are you when…woe to you if…go our of your way to love people…Now then, “To the person who strikes you on the cheek…”, “from the person who takes away your coat…” The point is that as you are going out of your way to love people, to share with them the life-changing love of God, there will be rejection. Jesus’ point is that as you are rejected (strikes you…takes away…) you must continue to love and to share that love (offer the other as well…do not withhold your tunic either…).

Is this Jesus asking His disciples to do as He says but not as He did?

Throughout His earthly life and ministry Jesus frequently hung out with those that should have, on paper at least, rejected Him. He hung around with the religious leaders of the day (John 3.1-21), tax collectors (Luke 19.1-10), and sinners of all kinds (Matthew 11.19). 

To be able to offer the other as well we need to actually be in a position where rejection is possible. For most, this is not a comfortable place and they don’t actively seek it out. But, had Jesus not pursued you, had someone not shared the Good News with you (which included the possibility of your rejection) then you would most likely not be reading this.

So, to be able to turn the other cheek, we need to be out there and willing to share.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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