Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This law describes what happens when one body exerts force on another and can be observed when we bounce a ball, drive a nail, or when one car hits another. Newton’s principle demonstrates itself in our relationships, too. We yell at a friend, they yell back; gang violence leads to retaliation; wars result in more wars. Unless there’s something that goes beyond Newton’s laws, something that transcends the world itself, we’ll be trapped in this destructive cycle forever.
On the day of His crucifixion, the unbelieving Jews, the Roman soldiers, and the government exerted tremendous force on Jesus. “Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’” (Luke 22:63-65) “Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” (Luke 23:21) “…the rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’” (Luke 23:35-37) If Newton’s law applies here as it does with the rest of mankind, such force exerted on the person of Jesus should have elicited an incredible response of self-defense or even war.
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36) In one statement, Jesus makes it clear that He’s not bound to the laws and expectations of this world and He proves this on the Cross. Amidst gruesome physical torture and verbal abuse, all without cause, Jesus says to His executioners, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) There was no “equal and opposite reaction,” because with Jesus, the sinful cycle of evil repaying evil stops.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24) Our Savior takes all those sins, even our own, so we don’t have to repay anger for anger, lust for lust, or jealousy for jealousy. Is there a part of your life where Jesus needs to break the cycle? In our relationships, we’re not bound by Newton’s Third Law; if we’ve been wronged, instead of retaliating, we can harness the strength and Spirit of Christ and prevent evil from reacting.