Daily Lectionary: Leviticus 24:1-23; Luke 12:54-13:17
If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. (Leviticus 24:19–20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. These words from God’s Law in Leviticus are easily twisted into a means of seeking retribution. People the world over have used them as justification for lashing out in anger at the one who has harmed them, to make sure they pay for their sins. But that’s not what almighty God means here. This is a limiting statement, a restraint against overreacting. Don’t respond in anger to the one who has harmed you and take more than you are given to take.
The people of Israel were to take no more than they lost from the one who harmed them. It must have been a bit strange to see a panel of people gathered to yank a tooth or poke out an eye for the injured one. But that is what the Lord instructed for those who had been harmed. It seems odd to our ears, especially in this age of courtrooms, fines, probation, and deferred adjudication, to think that a court would physically harm one who is guilty of harming another.
You no longer have to worry about being physically maimed in payment for the harm you do to someone else. In Jesus, God the Father carried out all the retribution that was needed for His children and for everyone. Jesus died for the sins of everyone, not just for believers. Are you due to lose an eye for something you did? How about have a bone broken because of some shenanigans? Don’t worry, Jesus took that punishment for you. In the same way, Jesus already paid for those wounds you have received from others.
Jesus stood there at the place of punishment and absorbed all of the wounds and suffering due to you and bore them in His death so that you would never need to suffer the wrath you deserved for your sin against God. No matter how bad your sins against your neighbor are, or their sins against you, what you did towards God was far worse, but Jesus has answered for them in His death and resurrection that you may be free. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Duane Bamsch
For us He prayed; for us He taught; For us His daily works He wrought, By words and signs and actions thus Still seeking not Himself but us. For us by wickedness betrayed, For us, in crown of thorns arrayed, He bore the shameful cross and death; For us He gave His dying breath. (O Love, How Deep, LSB 544:4-5)