SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48, 10:5
In Matthew 5:43-48, Layer One of God’s love is outlined for us. It should be noted that the only time this layer of God’s love is an obligation is when we are being evangelistic and are sowing a word of salvation into the life of a person. The only time this layer of God’s love is an obligation is when we are being evangelistic and are sowing a word of salvation into the life of a person. This passage does not apply when facing a rapist, a group of murderers, or a flash mob of thieves who refuse to repent. If they refuse to turn, they may need the judgment of God on their heads. Matthew 5:43-48 commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. But it must be taken in the context of Jesus preparing the twelve and the seventy to go out to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. In Matthew 10:5, Jesus said, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.” They were only to go to the House of Israel. Jesus was sending the twelve and the seventy to Covenant Israel because the mission was to finish the Old Covenant where He had to be rejected by the Jewish people in order to fill the cup of iniquity under the Old Covenant. Jesus’ rejection under the Old justified the transition to the New Covenant. When we look at the context of Matthew 5 – Jesus is preparing the twelve and the seventy to minister a message that results in a transition from the Old Covenant to the New. Love is far broader than turning the other cheek and praying for the enemy. The “turn-the-other-cheek” definition of love was appropriate for these three and one-half years, but once Jesus took a seat at the right Hand of God, the love of God dramatically enlarged to include other love-expressions necessary for bringing in a harvest. Sometimes the love of God demands the stopping of evil in its tracks. That is every bit as much the love of God as what Jesus taught the twelve and the seventy as preparation for going out to evangelize and finish His mission under the Old Covenant.