Summary: This messages teaches how to make our love for one another emulate God’s love for man.
A Righteous Love
Ref.: Luke 6:27-38
The Bible Knowledge Commentary
The Bible Background Commentary
This parallel of Matthew’s record of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” is frequently called “The Sermon on the Plain.”
· In previous verses, Jesus delivers the Beatitudes—pronouncements that confer an end-time blessing on persons who are characterized by what they are (e.g., the poor) or do (e.g., the peacemakers).
· The blessing assures the addressees of the vindication and reward that attend the salvation of God’s end-time Rule and thus provides encouragement in time of difficulty.
· In the verses for today’s topic, Jesus mentions seven aspects of unconditional love—actions not done naturally by human nature, but requiring supernatural enabling, and are thus proof of true righteousness.
dikaiosuma, the character or quality of being right or just
· Formerly spelled ‘rightwiseness,’ which clearly expresses the meaning.
· Used to denote an attribute of God that means essentially the same as His faithfulness, or truthfulness, that which is consistent with His own nature and promises.
· NT references speak of His righteousness as exhibited in the Death of Christ, which is sufficient to show men that God is neither indifferent to sin nor does He regard it lightly. On the contrary, it demonstrates that quality of holiness in Him that must find expression in His condemnation of sin.
I. Seven Points of Righteous Love
A. Vs. 27—(1) Love your enemies and (2) Do good to those who hate you.— At the time of this teaching, Jews were still firmly root in Old Testament law, which specifically commanded love of neighbor, but no one commanded love of enemies.
1. Love—agapao—used of God’s love toward man.
B. Vs. 28—(3) Bless those who curse you and (4) Pray for those who mistreat you.—Although Jesus and his followers practiced this rule of blessing and praying for enemies, prayer for vindication by vengeance were common in the Old Testament and in ancient magical curse texts.
C. Vs. 29—(5) Do not retaliate—The blow on the right cheek was the most grievous insult in the ancient Near East. The clothing in the verse refers to the outer and inner cloak, respectively. The poorest of people (like the average peasant in Egypt) might have only one of each.
D. (6) Give freely and (7) Treat others the way you want to be treated.
1. Vs. 30—Here Jesus may allude to beggars, quite common in the ancient East, and poorer people seeking loans. In Jewish Palestine beggars were usually only those in genuine need, and most were unable to work; farmers generally sought loans to plant crops. But. the richer Jews were hesitant to do this as at the close of each 7-year period (called Jubilee) all debts were forgiven and they would take a great loss.
2. Vs. 31—The “Golden Rule.”
3. Vs. 34-35— In the Roman world, some interest rates ran as high as 48%, but the Old Testament forbade usury, or charging interest.
a. Because many Jewish creditors feared that they would lose their investment if they lent too near the 7th year (when the law required cancellation of all debts), they stopped lending then, hurting the farmers who needed to borrow for planting. Jewish teachers found a way to circumvent this law so the poor could borrow so long as they repaid. Jesus argued that this practice should not be necessary; those with resources should help those without, whether or not they would lose money by doing so.
b. Biblical laws about lending to the poor before the year of release supported Jesus’ principle here, but Jesus went even further in emphasizing unselfish giving. Although the law limited selfishness, Jesus looked to the heart of the law and advocated sacrifice for one’s neighbor. A good man’s “sons” were expected to exemplify their father’s character; thus God’s children should act like him.
4. This kind of love marks one as distinctive, having the same characteristics as the heavenly Father.
II. Five Universal Principles
A. Jesus then taught His followers a fundamental principle of the universe—what one sows he will reap (vv. 36-38). Read Galatians 6:7–8.
B. Jesus outlined five areas which were proof of the sowing and reaping theme, mentioned so often in Scripture:
1. Mercy will lead to mercy (Luke 6:36). The disciples and those gathered were exhorted to have the same merciful attitude God displayed toward them.
2. Judgment will lead to judgment (v. 37a) and Condemnation will lead to condemnation (v. 37b)—Popular bumper sticker of the 70s said “Let’s love them and let God judge them.”
a. Judge—krino, to judge, pass sentence, or give one’s opinion in a private manner.
3. Pardon will lead to pardon (v. 37c).
4. Giving will lead to giving (v. 38). It is simply a fact of life that certain attitudes and actions often reflect back on the individual. RE-READ VS. 38.