This Sunday we will finish up the “law” section of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.
Matthew 5:43-48 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There are a few things that stand out to me in this passage…
- “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
During this “law” section of the sermon on the mount, we have been able to identify, in the old testament, the law that Jesus is referring to. But this one, I can only find half of it. I understand the love your neighbor part, but I can’t seem to find the part where we can hate our enemy. I don’t believe this was ever acceptable, but rather another example of inserting our human logic into our theology. If God wants us to love our neighbor, then it must be okay to hate our enemy.
- Are we comfortable with the word enemy? Would we as Jesus followers admit to having enemies?
Notice Jesus doesn’t say we shouldn’t have enemies, just that we should love them. If I am really loving someone that Jesus is calling me to, are they truly my enemy? How would we define the word enemy? What do our enemies reveal about us?
- Be perfect as God is perfect…?
Is that really Jesus’ expectation? What does this mean? Is this possible?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
Here’s a song that will hopefully get stuck in your head…
This is a little cheesy and it mushes a few bible stories together, but maybe the younger ones among us might like it.
~ Pastor Dustin