Matthew 5:25 Who Is Your Opponent? Rabbi Michael Weiner
Matthew 5:25-26 “Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!”
The quotation marks indicate Yeshua is speaking. Therefore; we can quote Him. These words of His are involved and complex, so we have to be careful how we quote Him. There is no simple understanding. Yeshua is using this occasion (of His big sermon) to describe a situation by allegory. The “opponent” He mentions, is not necessarily your typical adversary, the devil, but anyone with whom you have made an agreement or contract. As we will see, it is always a bad idea to make agreements with the devil.
Our weakness is that we don’t know what a contract is or how it applies in this verse. A contract occurs any time we agree to swap something for something. Some of our contracts could be referred to as non-aggression pacts or treaties. We make agreements not to “mess with” the enemy’s “stuff,” while he agrees not to mess with ours. The problem is that he is a liar. Never make an agreement with a liar.
There are two ways to take this. In one direction, the Lord warns us in the Torah not to make agreements at all. Exodus 34:12 Watch yourself, and make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, or they will become a snare among you. This is a related thought to Jeremiah 51:45 Come out of her, My people! Each of you, save your soul from the fierce anger of Adonai. This is restated in Revelation 18:4. It is also connected to Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
On the other hand, we are to keep all the promises we do make. Yeshua will conclude this section with Matthew 5:37 But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’ – anything more than this is from the evil one. He is making a restatement of Ecclesiastes 5:3(4)-4(5) When you swear a vow to God, don’t delay in fulfilling it. For He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better for you not to vow than to vow and not pay.
Furthermore; God is an unmentioned party to every agreement. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. It is never okay to take His name in vain. Exodus 20:7 You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.
“Make friends with your opponent” means to settle all the contracts you have made quickly, so the enemy has no basis for an accusation. That’s enough for today. We’ve talked about who is your “opponent.” But, who is your judge? Let’s find out next time.