Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Jesus Eats with His Enemies
Killed Because of the Way He Ate
In Luke 5 Jesus scandalizes the religious leaders because he eats with tax collectors and sinners. It’s part of a sequence of stories about the outrageous and subversive grace of God. These stories come to a climax in Luke 6:11: "But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus."
Robert Karris says says: “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus got himself killed because of the way he ate.” Scott Bartchy says: “Even everyday mealtimes were highly complex events in which social values, boundaries, statuses and hierarchies were reinforced. Anyone who challenged these rankings and boundaries would be judged to have acted dishonourably, a serious charge in cultures based on the values of honour and shame. Transgressing these customs consistently would make a person an enemy of social stability.”
Sermon on the Plain
Jesus is rejected by the leaders of God’s people. And so in 6:12-16 he chooses a new people of God and begins to tell them what kind of community they are to be in Luke’s equivalent to the Sermon on the Mount, only this is a sermon on the plain:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” lend to “sinners”, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
- Luke 6:27-36
Love Our Enemies
We read these words as a new ethic which is of course what Jesus intends. But what is the basis of that ethic? Look at verses 35-36: "Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
We are to love our enemies because we are God’s enemies and God has loved us.
We are to love our enemies because God loves his enemies. We are to love our enemies because we are God’s enemies and God has loved us. God has sat down and eaten with us. When he sat down with Levi, he was sitting down with you.
Think of these words not as an ethic for you, but as a description of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Did These Perfectly
Love your enemies. "When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). I was an enemy of God and he loved me. And he demonstrated his love in the gift of his own Son.
Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you. I was a God-hater. when we get the chance we kill our Creator. I have cursed God in my heart a thousand times. And every day he returns my curses with blessings. Every breath I take is a blessing from God. Every joy, every smile, every love is a blessing. He does me good.
Pray for those who ill-treat you. I crucify my Lord and he cries out, "Father forgive" (Luke 23:34). He has prayed for me just as he prayed for Peter when he predicted his denial (Luke 22:31-34).
Every breath I take is a blessing from God
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. When they struck Jesus at his trial (John 18:22), he could have answered with the might of angels. But he turned the other cheek. When they soldiers blindfolded him and struck him again and again, calling on them to prophesy who struck him (Luke 22:63-65), each time he could have answered with the might of angels. But he turned the other cheek. And then Pilate has him scourged (Mark 15:15). And with each lash of the whip, he could have answered with the might of angels. Each lash could have been the last had he chosen for it to end. But each lash he bears in my place. Each lash should have fallen on me. "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
Jesus has not lent to me. He has cancelled my debt without expecting anything back.
If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. ‘And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.’ (Luke 23:34)
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back … Jesus has given everything for me demanding nothing in return. We have took everything from him: the praise of angels, the comfort of heaven, the infinite, intimate love of his Father. He gave it up for me. He ‘did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing.’ (Philippians 2:6-7)
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Jesus has not lent to me. He has cancelled my debt without expecting anything back (Colossians 2:13-15).
Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. His reward is my salvation. That is the reward God has given him. That is the recompense for his sufferings. He has divided the spoils with me (Isaiah 53:12). He is the true Son of God, revealing the Father’s love and grace, kind to the ungrateful, merciful to the wicked.
For more on meals check out Tim Chester's new Re:Lit book, A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table