Tuesday, June 28th, 2022





In Matthew 5, Jesus sermonizes the Kingdom of God in a repudiation of what the Pharisees had been teaching for centuries. Each section starts with "You have heard it said..." because what the Pharisees were teaching was their own oral law, not Scripture. At the end of chapter 5 Jesus speaks on how we are to treat our enemies. He says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." The Pharisees had taken Scripture from Leviticus 19:18 (“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.") and Psalm 139:21 ("Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?") and put them together to create their own false interpretation of how God commands us to treat one another. They had, in effect, created a way to legitimize hate in their society! However, what they missed was David's intent behind Psalm 139 -- to be, both inwardly and outwardly, Godly. Thus, though his flesh may call out to slay and hate those who would do evil, what David is calling out to God for is guidance on how to love the sinner but hate the sin, just as God does! Coming back to Jesus' teaching, he calls this fallacy of the Pharisees out, saying "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." What the Pharisees were and what they did is not unique to Jesus' time -- they were a group with political power that exerted it through the defining of the laws the govern righteousness; but in doing so, they created their own righteousness, apart from the truth and righteousness of God. We've seen this same process play out countless times in history, just as we see it again today. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Today, recognize that the only source of truth and righteousness was, is, and always will be God and his Word. Commit to living in faith as Jesus calls us to - loving and praying for our neighbors, even those who persecute us.


"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." -- Matthew 5: 43-48


“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." -- Leviticus 19:18


"Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,

and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?" -- Psalm 139:21


"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." -- Ecclesiastes 1:9