Under the Roman Impressment Law, a Roman soldier passing by a Jew could order him to carry his pack for one mile. That heavy gear of armory, weighing up to 100 pounds, had to be carried by the Jew for a mile, after which he could return it and go on his way. In Matthew 5:41, when Jesus teaches to ‘go an extra mile’, He refers to this law.
Now, when someone offers to walk an extra mile, it is not an obligation, not a mandate, not under any force, but is purely an act of benevolence, done unconditionally. When Jesus asks us to show this love, He is calling us to mirror God’s love. God walked the extra mile for us.
Quite often we look past this one quality that sets our God apart from anyone else. It is ‘His love’. Our ears have become so accustomed to hearing the phrase “God’s love” that we often forget how deep it is.
Just read this slowly: God walked the extra mile when He chose to love us. He did not have to, but He CHOSE to. He chose to redeem us. He chose to transform us. He chose to make us His own. He chose to, not because we deserved it, but because He WANTED to. HE CHOSE!
The moment this realization sinks in, is the moment that changes us forever. There isn’t a bigger motivation to live for God, to say no to flesh, to prioritize our calling, to trust God beyond any doubts. This is our biggest motivation: because God CHOSE to love us.
– Dr. Ann Jacob