Luke

Luke 6:27-31 Love Your Enemies.

Everyone has enemies, but certainly any genuine Christian will not be able to avoid them. It is a reality which our Lord presupposes. If they hated Him they will hate us (v. 27 Cf. Mt. 5:44). However, as Christ loved His enemies, including those He died for, even so we are to follow His example. Blessing is to be returned for cursing, and prayer for those who treat us with spite (v. 28 Cf. Lk. 23:24; Acts 7:60; Rom. 12:14). Many suppose that Jesus was issuing a new edict and ethic here, departing from the practice of the old testament. However, just the opposite was the case. The law in fact gave some specific examples of how God’s people should love those who hate them (Cf. Ex. 23:4-5). The wisdom literature, which is a commentary on the law, also bears witness to this (Pr. 25:21), as Paul also affirmed (Cf. Rom. 12:20).

Striking one on the cheek was a serious insult to the victim. In turning the other cheek the Christian is not accepting the approbation, we just choose not to respond in kind (v. 29 Cf. Mt. 5:39-42; I cor. 6:7). It is not a threat to one’s life, so the issue is not self-defense, which would justify an appropriate response. If someone steals a cloak for a covering we are to ensure that they have even more (v. 30). Jesus was not advocating for a lawless society, rather, he was suggesting that we don’t take the law into our own hands. Also, if our enemy is in need, we should provide for that need. Again, Jesus was re-iterating what we find in the law and wisdom literature (Cf. Dt. 15:7-8; Pr. 3:27; 21:26). Our guiding principle ought to be to treat others as we would like to be treated (v. 31 Cf. Mt. 7:12).

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