In the Roman World, a soldier of the Emperor could require a another person to carry his pack one mile. That was the Law of Rome. No one defied Roman Law without serious consequences so average Joe bystander stopped whatever he was doing, picked up the pack and carried it the required mile, not one step farther.
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. (Matthew 5:41 NIV)
Jesus carried that one mile farther…why? Just to be an over achiever? To what end? To gain brownie points with the Roman army? Not likely to happen. That extra mile surely raised similar questions for the soldier.
“What is this joker trying to prove? If he thinks he is getting paid for this, he is crazy. And why is he smiling? I think I have a real nut case on my hands.”
“Where are you from?” The pack carrier asks.
“Galatia…why do you care? Here give me back my pack. You go on now.”
“Nah, I’m good. I like getting to know people who travel this road. Got a family?”
“Not that it is any business of yours, but yes my parents, a wife and two sons. Why are you doing this?”
“What? Oh, you ask me to carry your pack so I am carrying it.”
“But we passed the mile marker.”
“Oh, right, but you see I met a Man, named Jesus awhile back and he suggested going two miles instead of one and you know I like it. Why here we are having a conversation and we wouldn’t get the opportunity many other times. My name is Joseph by the way, what’s yours?”
See, I no longer see you as one of the Roman oppressors, no insult intended, but as Cassius from Galatia, with a family. A man doing his job, like I do mine. This extra mile has blessed me so much.”
“Really? Tell me just who is this Jesus fellow?”
I am grateful to have had those who have gone the extra mile for me even when I was not gracious about it, because through them Christ became a living fact in my life. I am grateful to be able to go the extra mile for others those in the family of God and those without Christ. Thank you Lord for the Extra Mile.