27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do 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. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And 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. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
39He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. 43"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. 46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." (NIV)
1. Followers of Christ are called to love even those who don't love in return, because by doing so they are imitating God the Father (vv. 27-36).
To love "enemies" is not to blissfully ignore the way they treat you. On the other hand, it's not simply "tolerating" them either. It is to truly do them good (and desire them good as well - notice how it says "pray for those who mistreat you"). In verse 31, Christ invites us to consider how we would like to be treated by others, and instructs us to use this as a principle.
In vv. 32-34, Jesus' questions are rhetorical; they are meant to convey the fact that to love only those who love us makes us no different from anyone else. But God's people are called to be holy in all they do, just as He is holy (1 Pe 1:13-16). Part of what this means is to imitate Him - and this extends to the way "he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (v. 35) by causing "his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and (sending) rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt 5:45).
2. Followers of Christ are to show such love by forgiving and giving, not judging or condemning; the LORD will reward them when they do this (vv. 37-38).
"Not judging" in this context does not mean what many in the world take it to mean, i.e. refusing to practice any kind of discernment whatsoever, in the name of "peace" and "tolerance". Rather, it refers to the kind of dismissive criticism or contempt we tend to view some people with.
To "forgive" and "give" reminds us that our love is to be proactive, not passively tolerating.
"The picture of a good measure pressed down draws on what happened in the ancient marketplace, where a seller placed grain in a container. Then he shook the container to get the grain to level out so he could put more grain in the measure. That is how God measures for the generous and those who give." (Bock, NIV App. Comm: Luke, 1996).
3. One must be careful whom he follows, for he will become like him (vv. 39-40).
4. Only those who make a practice of dealing with their own sin are in a good position to confront others with theirs (vv. 41-42).
5. Someone is only as good as what he fills his heart with (vv. 43-45).
6. Jesus commands those who call him Lord to show their allegiance by obeying Him; professions of faith will be revealed for what they are when trials and tribulations come (vv. 46-49).
1) Why is Jesus calling upon His followers to exhibit the kind of character that is described in this passage?
2) What is the proper way to deal with the inevitable response of "this is so radical, there is absolutely no way I can do this, or be this way?" (Matt 7:7-8; Rom 8:32; 1 Co 15:10; Phil 4:13; 1 Pet 4:11; 2 Pet 1:3-4)