Today’s Reading: Luke 6: 27-36
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Meditation: The lengths to which Jesus calls His followers to show love is uncomfortable for most if not all of us. We are told to turn the other cheek, to give freely and generously, to do good to even our enemies. This teaching raises the standards of the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, which allowed the one who was harmed to return the same harm to their neighbor who harmed them. Justice was served to those who sinned against others by the hand of those who were wronged.
But Jesus, the One Who had come to fulfill that same Law (Matthew 5:17) calls for a response which takes attention away from what we think we deserve from others, and focuses on what we should show to others. Even sinners, Jesus says, love the ones who show them love in return. In other words, anyone can love the lovable. But the love Jesus calls us to show others is a love which is boundless, a selfless love which extends to even those who are difficult to love. Even to those to do not love.
Why are we called to show this love? Jesus teaches that we are called to be like our Father in Heaven, Who is “kind to the ungrateful and the wicked” (v. 35) and “merciful” (v. 36). If we really examined ourselves honestly, we could admit that we are not always good people. In fact, we fall vastly short of the standard which has been set for us to follow. We sin against God and others, but God is gracious to us anyway. Knowing the depth of sin and wickedness in the world, God the Father loved us so much that He showed us love through Jesus. God, while enduring jeers, abandonment, and torture displayed the greatest act of sacrificial love ever performed. This is not the kind of love we deserve, but it is the love that God chooses to give us.
We are deeply known by God, Who completely sees our faults and our failures. We are also deeply loved by God, Who, knowing our sin and our need for a Savior, chose to die for us. He died for us in our least lovely state and also for others. He loves each person deeply and fully. In being reminded of our Father’s love and mercy, as Jesus describes, imagine the heart of God towards someone who might be difficult for you to love. The call Jesus gives is to show the love of God. How can we allow the heart of God to transform our own heart towards others?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your love is perfect. There is no one Who knows me like You and loves me like You. Thank You for Your mercy and love. Please help me to show more completely the love that You first showed me through the sacrifice of Christ Your Son, so that others would know how much You love them too. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Luke 6:27-49; Genesis 6:1-7:24; Psalm 3