Luke 6:33 – “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.” NIV
This question and the ones surrounding it are questions bracketed by Jesus’ instruction: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, …” (Luke 6:27) and “But love your enemies, do good to them, … (Luke 6:35 – NIV). This seems so contrary to our feelings and the way that most of the world operates. Yet Jesus urges His followers to “love your enemies,” and He’s not just talking about a warm fuzzy feeling. He’s talking about a love that acts … a love that does good things for people who dislike and even hate us! Why? He says that there are a couple of reasons according to Luke 6:35-36: “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (NIV). Continue reading
Luke 6:32 (see also Question #1 – Matthew 5:46) – “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.” NIV
This passage is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (level ground) recorded in Luke 6. Its contents are similar to much of the content in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5-7. While the wording is slightly different, the idea is the same. However, it is an idea worth repeating.
If as Christ-followers we are to become transformed into the image or likeness of Jesus, then it follows that we begin to act and respond in ways that Jesus would act and respond. One of those ways is how we treat people. God is always the initiator of love. According to John 3:16, it was God’s love that prompted Him to send Jesus to this earth to reveal His love for us in a tangible way. It was Jesus’ love that prompted Him to die on the cross for our sins. This love was given to us even before we came to follow Jesus while we were still “sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8) Continue reading
I’m reading the book Christ-Centered Coaching by Jane Creswell. In it she points out that good coaches ask good questions. Then she reminds her readers that Jesus often responded to his listeners with good questions. She notes that Gospels record over 150 questions that Jesus asked. I figured that these would be good for me to review as a coach and as a Christ-follower. So I am going to begin a thread on this blog called Questions Jesus Asked, and post my thoughts as I consider them. I’m beginning with the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel.
Question # 1 Matthew 5:46 – If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? NIV
This question was was a followup to this statement made by Jesus that must have left may of his listeners responding with, “Say what?”
Matthew 5:43-45 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. NIV
It is fairly easy to love those who love us. We tend to overlook their faults and flaws because they love us; but it is a totally different thing to love people who don’t love us, perhaps despise us, or are our enemies. However, Jesus told us to love our enemies!
Reciprocating love is its own reward, but it closes people out. God rewards those who love like Jesus, who laid down his life for us while we were yet sinners! That’s tough love! It’s the kind of love God rewards. The verb here is a form of agape, the kind of love that is self-giving and self-sacrificing. It is not erotic or sensual love or even familial love. It is the kind of love that requires the Holy Spirit’s help to grow in and be consistent.