Read verses 27-31
Q: Is this message intended for everybody?
A: Jesus qualifies it with, “But I say to you who hear”. (v.27) The biblical definition of “hearing” is someone who proves they have understood what they have heard by actually putting it into practice.
Application: Christ’s followers are not defined as those who know about Him, or acknowledge Him, or even hold Him in high regard, but as those who put His Word into practice.
Q: So how does this relate to the opening section on the blessings and the woes?
A: Jesus directly addresses the issue of how God’s people are supposed to treat possessions.
Q: What are the four actions directed by Jesus in v.27-28?
- “Do good”.
- “Pray for”.
These are all actions we are supposed to take in regards to other people.
Q: To whom does Jesus specifically hold that we are to treat this way?
- “Your enemies”.
- “Those who hate you”.
- “Those who curse you”.
- “Those who mistreat you”.
Q: Why does Jesus emphasize dealing with those who treat us the worst?
A: One reason might be that if we express this kind of love for our enemies, how much more our love for fellow believers. But it takes little effort to love and serve our friends as opposed to the exercise of faith necessary to not just love our enemies but do good for them. This is how we rise to a higher level and glorify Christ.
Q: How does Jesus summarize what is expected?
A: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you”. (v.31)
Q: What does “mistreat you” mean?
A: Another option of translating this word is “revile”. The Greek word is derived from the words “against” and “insult” and is actually a bit stronger than what “mistreat” conveys in modern English. It is describing being misused, treated despitefully, directly insulted. It describes how deep our threshold is supposed to be when it comes to dealing with the worst the world has to offer.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, i will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
— Romans 12:17-21
Application: The proof of the quality of our faith is in how we treat others, especially in how we choose to use the things of this world in doing so. Christians are supposed to be willing to sacrifice the temporal things of this world to gain the eternal things of the next.