Sunday 26th April 2020 6pm
HYMN – A New Commandment
READING Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It comes in three bits: there is a DO ; a DON’T & a BE.
To the Pharisees Jesus said DON’T RETALIATE.
There is also a “DO” for the Pharisees – and it is in vv 43-47- DO LOVE your enemies.
The third thing for the Pharisees is a “BE” – in vs. 48 “BE PERFECT”. “as your heavenly Father is perfect“.
And it is the same three words for US:
DON’T ever seek PERSONAL REVENGE
Jesus says to us: DO LOVE your enemies!
LEV.19:34 “The alien living with you (i.e. non-Jews) must he treated, as one of your native-born. LOVE HIM as yourself for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
But for ALL of us there is also a “BE”. Vs. 48 “BE PERFECT, as your heavenly father is perfect”.
Alfred Plummer said: To return evil for good is devilish, to return good for good is human, to return good for evil is divine”
When faced with the impossible: Vs. 48 “BE PERFECT, as your heavenly father is perfect”, there is only ONE COURSE of action for us – we need to turn to the God of the IMPOSSIBLE. We simply can NOT do it – so we have to run to the Lord Jesus Christ and throw ourselves on His mercy. HE HAS lived that perfect life.
Love is the Key – Love is the answer – Love is the essence of the Christian life – it will be evident in your life if YOU are one whose life is transformed by the love of God !
HYMN Courage brother (from St Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxi7uu771uE