Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Matthew 5:43-48 and God's Love for His Enemies (Part 2)

v. 44b, pray for those who persecute you,

Jesus Himself provided the most perfect example of prayer for one's persecutors as He was being tortured to death on the Cross, and He prayed for those tormenting Him: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (cf. Luke 23:34)

And in considering the relationship between Luke 23:34 and Matthew 5:43-48, and how these words from Jesus teach us about God's love, I began to write that on the Cross we see Jesus, who is God Incarnate, praying for His enemies. But while such an observation would serve my purpose here, upon further research I sincerely believe that the best way to understand Jesus' prayer from the Cross is in light of His human will: similar to the situation with His prayer offered in Luke 22:42.

On the other hand, I believe the command to pray for persecutors does have a direct relationship to God's character in this: when we pray on behalf of our persecutors (rather than ignoring them or calling down curses upon them), we are doing something good for them that is the opposite of what they deserve; likewise, God sends rain even on the unrighteous ("rain" is considered a blessing, rather than a nuisance, in an agricultural society, where rainwater helps the crops to grow): God grants His enemies air, water, and food. God gives innumerable such blessings to all his enemies, when all that they deserve from Him is wrath. And to all of His enemies who trust in Jesus alone for salvation, God grants eternal life.

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