The Sermon on the Mount: pt 9, Christ’s Law on Love

by Steve Reynolds  /  Matthew 5:43-48  /  March 13, 2016

If you could be given the answer to eternal life, wouldn’t you want it? In Luke 10, a lawyer approaches Jesus and asks him, “What do I do to get eternal life?” And Jesus responds by asking him, basically, “What do the Scriptures teach?” To which the lawyer replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself”. This, by the way, is completely what Scripture teaches you must do if you want to work your way to heaven (the only problem is that we all fail), so the man asks a clarifying question, “Who is my neighbor?” And this isn’t a bad question; because, you see, if you believed that was your way to heaven, by loving God (ok, we know what that looks like) and loving your neighbor, then it is vastly important to know who God counts as a neighbor. Jesus responds with a story: the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was beaten on the road and one-by-one the Jewish religious elite pass by the man until finally a Samaritan, a half-breed, a foreigner, an unclean religious heretic stops and cares for the man; the hero of the story was an enemy who loved. Jesus asked, “Who was the neighbor?” The foreigner, the down-cast, the heretic, the hated, whoever is in need. But this isn’t the first time Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies; it permeates his teaching, his ministry and his life. Today, we see Jesus say this in a few pointed words; and, I pray, that we learn from this sermon that we are to love our enemies because we were once enemies loved by God.