Greater Love

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Greater Love

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6
29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
Luke 6
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? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
Luke 6

34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Luke 6

Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6

There are 4 commandments found in this passage:
Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who mistreat you.

Following Jesus is demonstrated as we practice radically loving our enemies. We are to love those who hate, mistreat, and curse us. Jesus calls us to love all.

Who were the enemies of first century Jews?
Romans
Pagan Gentiles
Samaritans

The Samaratins ( Keepers of the Law)
Believed that Mount Gerizim was the Holy place selected by Yaweh.
Built Temple
70 Year Exile

But I think we can characterize the Samaritans as people who were closely related to the Jews. Possibly the “neighbor” often mentioned in the Gospels is referring to the Samaritans.

This passage includes enemies that we know about, but also unexpected enemies, those who are close to us, who do or say something that is hurtful. As a follower of Jesus, we are called to reflect Christ’s love in all of our relationships.

  1. We are to relate to one another as Christ has loved us.

Christ loved us by ascribing the Fathers love for us, to us. He was confident in the love His Father had for him and trusted Him because he knew his father loved him deeply.

It was in this trust that gave Jesus the courage to die on the cross in place of us. He trusted his daddy .

In the same way Jesus is asking us to trust him and obey him when he tells us to do good to those who hurt us. We don’t understand it but do we trust him as Father?

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10-11

Do we believe that He loves us and delights in us when we trust Him.

It is difficult to love anyone if…

We have a skewed view of God & of Ourselves.

Father Abba delights in us, his thoughts are precious toward us, his plans for us are good, He calls us his children and cloaks us with the authority of being royal priests here on earth.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Ephesians 3

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3

  1. To Love others properly we must first be loved.

This is opposite of the world’s message to us. The world tells us to love those who love us, but Jesus teaches us to love others without considering how they treat us.

When someone does harm to us, it is so easy to respond in an unloving way with resistance and retaliation. We are told that this is acceptable by our culture. This is what makes the message of love so offensive and different from the patterns of this world.

As the representatives of Jesus in this world we are supposed to be different.

We are called to make people wonder, “Why are they still so nice to me, after all I’ve done and said?” This was the ministry of Jesus. He reached out to those that the culture of the time considered enemies such as the prostitutes, the demon possessed the Roman centurions and the tax collectors, the samaritans.

Jesus knew who these people were and what they represented to the culture of the time but He chose to do good, bless, and pray for these people. Jesus commands us to “Be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful.” This is only possible through the power of God in our lives and hearts. Through Jesus we can love those who hate us and bless those who curse us.

To love those who harm us is easier said than done. To love requires faith. It is important to rely upon God in the midst of our messy relationships.

Spouse
Children
Siblings
Parents
Friends

  1. God can bring beauty out of the messes in our lives.

Isaiah 61:3-7

To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.
5 Foreigners will be your servants.
They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
and tend your vineyards.
6 You will be called priests of the Lord,
ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
and boast in their riches.
7 Instead of shame and dishonor,
you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

Do you notice here that there are great benefits to being Children of God?

Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, Luke 6:35

Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who mistreat you.

This is a process of making daily decisions to not react as the world tells us, with “justified retaliation”, but instead with prayer and patience for those who hurt us whether family, friend or other person. Through this radical kind of love we can impact our world!

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