What Jesus Did! 'Finding Our Target' — Matthew 5:43-45

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those people that do bad things to you. If you do this, then you will be true sons of your Father in heaven. Your Father lets the sun rise for the good people and the bad people. Your Father sends rain to people that do good and to people that do wrong."
— Matthew 5:43-45
Illustration of Matthew 5:43-45 — "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."

Key Thought

This is a powerful conclusion to the things Jesus has been teaching us. In the Kingdom Family of God, the "greater righteousness" has as its visible sign a radically different, redemptively loving commitment for those around us. As Jesus reminded us in the Beatitudes, and again challenges us here, our goal is to love our neighbor. When our desire is to act redemptively, our neighbor becomes anyone who needs the love of the Father. The Father—God himself—is to be our inspiration, goal, and target in this pursuit. Because God is our Father, his traits should be our traits. He loved the world and sent his Son knowing that many would reject him. Yet that love is transformational: transformational for our world, our friendships, our families, and our attitude toward our enemies.

Today's Prayer

Almighty, yet compassionate Father, give me greater patience and confidence as I try to love those who are not very lovable and try to return grace to those who have enmity for me. When I do these things, I know that I am only allowing your character to come through in my life. In my quest to be like you, I do not desire your power, O Lord, for you alone are God. But I do earnestly want to take on your holy and gracious character. Work your will in my heart through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, don't stand against an evil person. If someone hits you on the right cheek, then turn and let him hit the other cheek too. If a person wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, then let him have your coat too. If a soldier forces you to walk with him one mile, then go with him two miles. If a person asks you for something, then give it to him. Don't refuse to give to a person that wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those people that do bad things to you. If you do this, then you will be true sons of your Father in heaven. Your Father lets the sun rise for the good people and the bad people. Your Father sends rain to people that do good and to people that do wrong. If you love only the people that love you, then you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, then you are no better than other people. Even the people without God are nice to their friends. So you must be perfect, the same as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 5:38-48

Related Scripture Readings

Say only good things to those people that do bad things to you. Say good things to them and don't curse them.

Romans 12:14

But you are chosen people. You are the King's priests. You are a holy nation of people. You are people who belong to God. God chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He called (brought) you out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light. At one time you were not God's people. But now you are God's people. In the past you had never received mercy. But now you have received mercy {from God}. Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers {in this world}. So I beg you to stay away from the evil things your bodies want to do. These things fight against your soul. People who don't believe are living all around you. Those people may say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on that day when he comes.

1 Peter 2:9-12

We work hard with our own hands {to feed ourselves}. People curse us, but we speak a blessing for them. People persecute us, and we accept it. People say bad things about us, but we say good things to them. At this time people still treat us like we are the world's garbage—the trash of the earth.

1 Corinthians 4:12-13

Comments

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.