24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. Love for Enemies 27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus turns the tables on being a ‘nice’ person. It’s all very well to show your affection to your friends, everyone does that – love your enemies. People who want to hurt you: love them. People who wish to trample on you: love them. The haters and the back-stabbers: love them too. What’s at stake? Nothing could be more valuable: true kinship with the creator of the universe (v35). The comfortably situated, the popular, the rich and those with reputation have all been put on notice – Jesus is clear, the lifestyle of his followers is not particularly marked by these types of things. Rather Jesus-people can be observed by their indiscriminate loving of people around them.
Jesus got there first, he loves the unlovely already. Can we draft in behind God’s example and model God’s goodness, generosity, kindness, blessing and prayer for everybody we encounter? Friendship with God looks like this and is worth it every step of the way.
Holy Spirit, the love modelled by Jesus is a challenging prospect. I want to trust you today for the capacity to copy Jesus. I trust that you, Holy Spirit, will empower me. With faith I confess: ‘I love those that wish to harm me.’ Holy Spirit, thank you for the insight and wisdom as to how to make this statement a reality in the now. Holy Spirit, Thank you that I can trust your protection, just as I can trust your supply, just as I can confidently obey your word. Thank you for your arms of comfort surrounding me everyday.
Written by Sam Stewart