Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 20
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:5:38-42 An Eye for an Eye
What is God doing?
Being perfect. We have said that HE is doing one thing/the same thing that HE has been doing all along to fulfill HIS promise to mankind; which involves the serpent striking the heal of the one who will then crush the serpent's rule. Until the final time of judgment when HE can close this earthly quarantine down and safely move HIS inoculated children into a new heaven and earth, in the interim HE has granted all men a sort of general grace as alluded to in the statement "making HIS sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sending rain on the just and on the unjust".
During this same preparatory time, HE has used a small but chosen nation to be HIS bull horn to the rest of the world of HIS grand intentions, to show all men through them the need for a savior including by a Law that measured the extent of man kinds fallen state and inability by their own means to repair it.
Jesus now is that promised one and confirmation of that is being given with every miracle and every healing and soon by His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand throne of God. Jesus is doing only what God the Father is telling Him to do and saying only that which HE is telling Him to say. Jesus is being a living example of what it is this sermon is teaching.
What is man doing?
Man has corrupted the thing so much that he is not following along with this present messianic development at all. For the most part they are ignoring the entire unfolding except for the few religious types that are holding tight to a corrupted interpretation based upon self, the Law and works leading to self exaltation, flatly rejecting Jesus and the present fulfillment as it unfolds. It is these types that are teaching the general population from traditions such as "thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy".
The argument the Christ gives against that teaching here is that while in general it is good to love thy neighbor, how is it any different than what can be done by any unregenerate person including the most despised sinners in society the publicans. Unlike loving one's enemies (which only those molded by Christ can do), this lesser mold does not require that the person be poor of spirit, nor meek, nor hungry and thirsty for righteousness, nor pure of heart, nor a peacemaker, nor willingly persecuted for Christ's righteousness sake; their type of person can completely be who they already are with or without Christ, sinful as they dare to or dare not to be and still have the self manufactured resource to love their neighbor/hate their enemy. That is not to say that they will in fact love their neighbor, but that it is within their ability to choose.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;". It seems like it would be easier just not to make any enemies. I think that this is the way most all of us try to approach it. Ah, but that is not what Jesus said; is it? The fact is that you will have enemies: the enemies of Jesus. You profess a undeniable love for Jesus Christ, the majority of people are going to hate you for it, they will despitefully use you and persecute you for it. Yes we are to be peacemakers through all of this, but that is surely not mean compromising our devotion to Christ nor compromising His message; it is to mean to be part of His vehicle drawing as many of them into His kingdom as possible. How do we do that if not to love them, to do good to them, to pray for them as stated in this very passage.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". The word perfect is dict:strongs G5046 complete/completeness/of full age. We said that God was being perfect in what HE has promised, what HE has spent all this time establishing, in how HE is dealing with the situation via HIS son, even in providing a general grace for the time being over all men good or bad equally until this is completed. We cannot be the same perfection HE is being in the ultimate sense, but we can be on board with the entire process; and in that sense be perfect within HIS much more grand perfection.
Think of it as the Apostle Paul did:
This then, the hatred of sin and the poor of spirit acknowledgement of our own imperfections on the one hand, but the love for our (our Lord's) enemy's ultimate salvation on the other is a major step toward that perfection.
Why? "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven"
Next: devotion:Matthew:6:1-4 Giving to the Needy