This quote is from NT Wright's Simply Christian. Over the past few years I have come to the belief that we have to remember the context of Jesus’ message and teaching. He was ministering to a Palestinian Jewish culture. One shaped by its past and looking forward to the establishment of the Messiahs reign. In Jesus we find the proclamation of the kingdom of God. This reworks the story of Israel and the role of Israels Messiah. Jesus calls Israel back to the heart of God – the redemption of the whole world.
“[Jesus] believed that the ancient [Jewish] prophecies were being fulfilled. He believed that Israel’s God was doing a new thing, renewing and reconstituting Israel in a radical way… … It wasn’t a matter of the God of Israel simply fighting off the wicked pagans and vindicating his own people. It wasn't about God judging not only the pagans but also Israel; about God fulfilling his promises, but doing so in a way that nobody had expected or anticipated. God was issuing a fresh challenge to Israel, echoing back to his promises to Abraham: Israel is indeed the light of the world, but its present policies have been putting that light under the bucket. It’s time for drastic action. Instead of the usual military revolt, it was time to show the pagans what the true God was really like, not by fighting and violence but by loving ones enemies, turning the other cheek, going the second mile. That is the challenge which Jesus issues in his series of teachings that we call the “sermon on the mount.””I will come back to this quote at a later time, for a while think on it, give your opinions and thoughts; I will try to comment when I have time.