From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. Matthew 16:21
One of the hard things Jesus told His people to do was to turn the other cheek.
Cheek-turning sounds like a great idea ... on paper. It's mighty hard to do in practice. Like many of us, the Englishman, Sir Walter Scott had a terrible time as he wrestled with the idea of cheek-turning.
That was true until the day came when Jesus' words took on special meaning.
A stray dog had been pestering him. Having exhausted all other means to get rid of the mongrel, Scott threw a rock at the dog to chase it away. His aim was straighter and his delivery stronger than he intended. He hit the animal and broke its leg. Instead of running off, the persistent dog hobbled over to him and licked his hand.
Sir Walter never forgot that touching response. He said, "That dog preached the Sermon on the Mount to me as few ministers ever have presented it."
Maybe that's because Sir Scott never really took a good look at Jesus. Jesus was no dumb animal that never saw the stones coming. Jesus was the Passover Lamb, shedding His blood to create a new relationship between God and man. Jesus knew He was going to die.
Long before He ever went to Jerusalem, He was fully aware of what was in store for Him. He shared with His disciples that He must suffer much, and that He would be killed. Everybody knows that people's greatest motivation is survival. They will do just about anything within their power to make sure they survive. Jesus had the limitless power of God to make sure He lived His life unscathed.
Incredibly, even though Jesus knew His future fate, He still went to Calvary to die for us.
This is just this devotion's way of saying: Jesus didn't just turn the other cheek for us, He died for us!
Can we not live for Him?
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I have met very few people who, when they were hit, would turn the other cheek. I give thanks that You practiced what You preached. If You hadn't, I would be lost. Thank You! Now, motivated by thanksgiving, please teach me to practice what You preach. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries