Verse of the Day – Nov. 30, 2023

Verse of the Day – Nov. 30, 2023

November 30, 2023 – Thursday 

Matthew 5:43-45    NKJV 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 

Comments 

Let me give you the following three verses that close out this chapter in Matthew, 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect

Notice tax collectors are used in both verses 45 and 46 for they were almost universally hated within the Jewish community. And if you are doing what tax collectors do, how can you give yourself praise for that? You cannot as that is simply expected behavior.  

However, when we look at verses 43-45, we find something incredibly original and unique, 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you,love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. I must admit I was incredulous when I first read, I was to love my enemiesbless those who curse medo good to those who hate me and then to pray for those who spitefully use me and persecute me. Whoa! That was a call for a real in-depth change in my thinking and my actions.  

Why in the world are we asked to do such difficult things (at least at the beginning of our faith walk), why? A careful reading of verse 45 points to the answer for me, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. How does doing as Jesus said I am to do make me a son of my Father in heaven? How? Part of the answer in the rest of the verse, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust

God the Father He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. And He sent His Son to save anyone who would turn to Him in faith, repent of their sins, and follow Him. The bottom line is that we were all unsaved, in rebellion against our heavenly Father. All of us were. All of us were unworthy of Heaven. So, what does God do? He sends His Son in human form to offer us a way home, a way to heaven. He loved us when we hated Him, many of us cursed Him, and some of us used Him to take advantage of others. We were truly unworthy. Yet He loved us, loves us. 1 John 4:19 says, 19 We love Him because He first loved us. Thus, Jesus is instructing us on how to become sons of the Father, to love as He has loved, as He loves.  

Jesus makes His case even stronger in Mark 11:25, 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. There are no ‘ifs, and, or buts or what abouts” as it simply says, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him. Anything. Why? So, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. We have been forgiven are we are to be about the business of forgiving as we were forgiven.  

Bottom Line: Jesus and the Father both want us to be forgiving, not holding grudges, not hating, not looking for retribution. We leave that up to the Father as Romans 12:19 tells us 19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your Grace through Your Son Jesus is all about forgiveness. Help us to be as forgiving as You wish us to be. Bless us in our efforts. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

RileyD, nwJ       

Riley D. Driver – Pastor           

Still writing and working for the Glory of God