September 24 - Luke 6:27-36

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Luke 6:27-36 – Love

While we might be very comfortable with the command that Jesus gave: Love your enemies; this was not part of Judaism. The enemies of Israel were enemies of God. Most of the teachings Jesus offered were simply reworkings of things the Jews had heard all of their lives, but this was new. Imagine hearing, for the first time, that you were to treat those who hated you, cursed you or mistreated you … with love.

The Psalmist continually calls on God to deal with his enemies. In Psalm 3:7, David writes that God has struck all his enemies on the jaw; he has broken the teeth of the wicked.  David’s enemies are equated with wicked and evil. There is nothing that causes him to love them. While this teaching was not one that anyone within the Jewish culture of the time understood, it was something that separated Jesus and his disciples from others.

Jesus called on his followers to pray for those who persecuted them. He never promised that the presence of the kingdom of God would bring safety and peace. He replaces what society promotes as goals to be achieved: success, prosperity and happiness, with a responsibility to care for each other. Give what you own away, do not demand recompense if someone takes something from you, do not return evil for evil – anger for anger. No matter what, Jesus says, do to others as you want them to do to you.

This was a new way of thinking for the Jews and for many of us, it still seems to be difficult to live out.

In Luke 6:35, Jesus repeats his directives – love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

He then ties this love to its motivation. Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

Love is tied to adoption into the family of God. There are no caveats, there is no discussion.