The Extensions
Rev. Alexis Johnson
February 28, 2021

Secondary Source: The Sermon on the Mount: A Beginners Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven Dr. Amy-Jill Levine Abingdon Press 2020

Thesis: The foundational truth to us is that we are created in the image of God, everything else is fence-building and helps us live into that. 

Making My Case:

Dr. Levine teaches us/reminds us that Jesus does not abolish or replace the Law. So what is Jesus doing? Jewish teachers have a long and continued history of “building fences” around the commandments so that one does not run the risk of breaking the commandments.

Jesus Fences:

  • We shouldn’t get angry at someone or degrade them with our words so that we do not murder. 
  • We shouldn’t lust (desire to possess) another person so that we do not commit adultery with them.
  • When someone hits us, sues us, forces us to work, we can reclaim our power without hurting them back.

The Torah (Law or Teachings) was given to the Israelites AFTER they escaped from 400 years of slavery and were wandering in the desert. 

We are told in Genesis that God created us in God’s image.

What ifs (My Theory): 

  • What if the Torah is a fence around the truth of us as the image of God? We know we are to love our neighbors (and our enemies!) and the Torah teaches us the minimum of how to do that. No murdering, no stealing, no coveting. 
  • Jesus’s fence around the Torah not only keeps us from violating the Torah, it drives even further into heart and mind change so that we begin to feel, experience, and believe that each person is created in the image of God. (Jesus is not the only Jewish teacher to do this but He’s the one we follow!)
  • Even Jesus’ teaching on the slap, the suit, and the subjugation (Loc 896) builds a fence around the image of God while focusing on our own image-ness. They are ways of protecting our own image-ness from abuse without taking away the image-ness of the other.  

Call to Action and Response: Read the text and send me your thoughts! I could be crazy. Put my lens on and see how it strikes you. Send me a message!!

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