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Jan. 23, Matthew 5:38-48 by Junghee

Summary: Jesus continues in this “Sermon on the Mount” passages with “You have heard that it was said,…. But I tell you,…” messages so that we “may be children of Father in heaven”. Jesus tells us not resist an evil person, to turn the other cheek, to hand over the coat, to go two miles, to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, and to be perfect as Heavenly Father is perfect.


Focus Verse: 45a, 48: ..that you may be children of your Father in heaven. ...Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Reflection:

When I read this particular passage, the first thing that enters my mind is “all these things Jesus is asking me to do are so very difficult, if not impossible”. I sigh because I’m overwhelmed, then I tell myself (trying to make myself feel better) that only a few selected “saints” will be able to accomplish this. So, what Jesus commands us to do are easily dismissed simply because I can’t achieve it. Then, as I read over and over again, a word in v. 45 and 48 caught my eyes—“BE”. I thought about what it means to be. I think “being” is more than a mere action, it involves the character, mind, and heart.


Everything Jesus is asking me to do here goes against my selfish ambition and desires. As long as “self” is involved, all these things “to do” are impossible— unless God is working in my heart. When God changes my heart and help me to fix my eyes on Him instead of myself, this impossible task of loving others becomes “God’s work” instead of mine alone.


The Holy Spirit helps me to declare, it is no longer “I” who live for myself, but “Christ” lives in me and empowers me to “BE” God’s child, now living for God. Today’s last verse says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is only through Jesus’ perfect righteousness, I can “be” perfect—being set apart from others showing God's love to those around me.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word today. Father, would help me to fix my eyes on you because without your help, I cannot love others. Father, fill me with your love so I can love those around me, especially those who are hard to love. Sanctify me through and through and change me so that I can become more like Jesus every day. Thank you for loving me when I was your enemy. Help me to remember that so I can show love to my enemy. In Jesus' name, Amen.



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