Tuesday April 2, 2019
Today’s Focus Who is your enemy?
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 6:17-19, 27-36
17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil[b] spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.
27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Daily Reflection Pastor’s reflection
Recently a friend of mine shared that the single most important teaching that he has learned was that he must TRUST God! Trust God, with every cell of his body. Trust God with all of his will. Trust God in both life and a sure and certain death. The concern that Jesus addresses in this section of Scripture is one that we all face at one time or another in our life. How are we supposed to deal with our worldly enemies? Who should we love and who should we withhold love. Jesus shares with His disciples that we are not to let selfishness or ill will determine our response to a mistreatment against us. The best interest of the wrongdoer must be the standard by which we respond. Jesus suggests “give of your “things” and offer forgiveness because we have been “given” our things and have been forgiven by God. The command to love one’s enemy reminds us that indeed our “neighbors” are inclusive to all. Treat everyone as a neighbor because such peacemaking takes on the very character of God, who in the face of His own mortal death offers forgiveness to those who are putting Him to death. God’s love is indiscriminate. Jesus’ teach are not sheer passivity but rather aggressive action designed to undermine hostility and violence. Our Lord’s teaching call for an imaginative, aggressive, but always non-violent response to the problems that are presented to us in this world.
Some questions for reflection
- Love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them with no expectation of repayment. What does this “look” like in our world and is it possible?
- Jesus comes down from the mountains to a large level place. Luke suggests in this Scripture that Jesus comes to us right where we live. How has Jesus come to you where you live?
Today’s discipleship challenge
Show love to someone who others would not consider your neighbor. How did this make you feel, how do you suppose the “other” felt; and do you really believe that this is how God intends us to live in this world? Share with your group or a trusted friend.
O God, it is Your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of Your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to Your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.