180303_001 God gives the power to love their enemies to those who have been transformed by the work of Jesus on the cross.
- Verse 43: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.” As Jim pointed out, Jesus was quoting a misinterpretation of Leviticus 19. The teachers of his day were twisting the law to love to their own convenience. How were they doing that? How common is this practice among Christians today? Can you think of any examples?
- Verse 44: “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Who would identify as your “enemies”? Who do you find it difficult to love? What does it take to love those who have hurt you?
- Verse 45: “In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” What is the meaning of God’s “common grace” in contrast to His “saving grace”? In what way are we to show “common grace” to all people? In what way does Jesus’ teaching confront racial and ethnic prejudice?
- Verse 46-47: “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” Do you tend to love only those who will love you in return? Are you kind only to your friends? How can you show kindness to those who are not your friends
- Verse 48: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” When you first read this verse, how do you feel? From what Jim said about the meaning of the word “perfect” (lacking nothing necessary to completeness), how does this change what Jesus meant? How does it apply to loving our enemies
- What help or “power” can we find in Jesus’ death on the cross? What must happen in us to experience the same love Jesus had for his enemies?