Day 5 Read: Matthew 5:43-47
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Reflect: What was the main point of the law to love your neighbor and hate your enemy? How did Jesus’ teaching differ from the Pharisees’? How did this change what His followers expected?
Consider: Jesus gave several reasons for this admonition (to love one’s enemies). (1) This love is a mark of maturity, proving that we are sons of the Father, and not just little children. (2) It is Godlike. The Father shares His good things with those who oppose Him. Matthew 5:45 suggests that our love “creates a climate” of blessings that makes it easy to win our enemies and make them our friends. Love is like the sunshine and rain that the Father sends so graciously. (3) It is a testimony to others. “What do ye more than others?” is a good question. God expects us to live on a much higher plane than the lost people of the world who return good for good and evil for evil. As Christians, we must return good for evil as an investment of love.5
Respond: Read Romans 12:17-21. How does God’s command in these verses compare with His command in Matthew 5:43-44? How did Jesus’ life demonstrate this teaching?
5 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24.