Term 2 – Week 04
Big Idea – Followers of Jesus should love their enemies and pray for those who hurt them
- To know that God calls his people to love all people, not just those we like or who we’re friends with
- To understand that we are called to live God’s way in this world – to love like God loves.
- Belief – Acknowledge that it is really hard to love people who hurt us, but Jesus calls us to try because God loved us first.
- Behaviour – How might be show love towards those kids at school whom we don’t get along with? Give the kids the opportunity to ask God to help them.
Old Testament Law required God’s people to love their neighbour (Lev 19:18). Some Jews took the word neighbour in an exclusive sense, saying that it was alright to hate the non-neighbour who was an enemy (v.43). However, Jesus taught that his people were to Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you (v.44). In doing this, God’s people would be acting like their heavenly Father (v.45a), who give good gifts indiscriminately to all people, not just to His people. For example, God makes the sun rise not just exclusively on the good and nor does God make the rain pass over the evil (v.45b). No, God’s provisions and blessings extend to the whole race and even more than this, God showed his love to rebellious sinners (his enemies!) when he sent his son to die for them to pay the price for our sin (John 3:16).
For (not in the NIV), the goodness of God has implications for Kingdom Living. If we are followers of Jesus, then we are to live differently to people around us. We are to love differently. We are to love like God loves. Jesus says, If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Even the tax collectors do that (v.46) There is nothing special or different about loving those who already love you. To behave this way is to act like the world, it is the natural response of all people. There is no reward for this type of love. If you greet only your own people, what more are you doing than others? Even people who are ungodly do that. If you greet warmly and welcome only those who belong to the same group as you, then there is no merit in such greeting. Even those who don’t know Jesus do this. Therefore, says Jesus, be different from those around you and love differently. Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (v.48). Love like God loves!
This simple teaching about loving our enemies and praying for those who hurt us, may be extraordinarily difficult to follow. Some of us have been hurt deeply by other, and this may include children in the group. It’s important to remember, the need to depend on God to help us live this way. Forgiving and loving our enemies may be a difficult and process, but it is clear that Jesus calls us to do it. This is what living God’s way in this world looks like. But praise be to God who gives us his Spirit who enables us to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us.
 Leon Morris, ‘The Gospel According to Matthew’, The Pillar NT Commentary, (Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, England, 1992), 132.
Matthew 22:37- 40 (NIrV)
Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ Everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets is based on these two commandments.”
Living 4 Jesus – Quizworx – YouTube
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