"Eye for an eye" shows Donald Trump needs the gospel

It is not, as some have said in the aftermath of Trump’s remarks, that Jesus “repudiated” the lex talionis principle from the Old Testament. Repudiate means to deny the truth or validity of a thing. That’s not what happened in the Sermon on the Mount. The Old Testament provisions are about limiting vengefulness and providing guidance for secular courts to mete out proper punishment. Jesus is clear in various parts of his teaching that there is a distinction between Caesar’s kingdom and God’s. He’s not saying that the principle of limiting vengeance is wrong. He’s saying, as he does time and time again with other aspects of the Law, that the challenge is to extend it even more. Compare this with a passage 10 verses prior when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He’s not repudiating the commandment against adultery. He’s extending it.

So here he’s not saying the principle of limiting vengefulness is wrong but that it doesn’t go far enough. Limit your vengeance to the point that you suffer insults and persecution from your enemy and be generous to all those who place demands on you, whether it’s the Roman soldiers who forced civilians to carry their baggage or the person who seeks a loan. “Jesus wants us to be willing to make sacrifices, to think twice before we refuse a request for help,” as my study Bible puts it.