Love Your Enemies
Readings for the Week: Ps 37:1-11,39-40 Gen 45: 3-11,15 1Cor 15:35-38,42-50 Lk 6:27-38
February 24, 2019
- Read Luke 6:27. The Greek word translated as “love” means to “wish well to, take pleasure in, long for, prefer.” The Greek word translated as “enemies” means “someone openly hostile (at enmity), animated by deep-seated hatred, resolved to do harm.” What is your visceral response to the command to “love your enemies?”
- Read vv. 27-30. List every command that Jesus gives. What do you think he is trying to do by layering these commands?
- Consider verse 31. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” is to want God’s best for those who are hatefully against you. Fairness is not part of this equation. Read vv. 36. “Be merciful, just as your heavenly Father is merciful.” How is your heavenly Father merciful?
- Read verse 35-38. What are the outcomes of being merciful as your Father is merciful? Reread v. 38. What does this verse mean?
- Equity is giving people what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. How does Jesus’ way in Luke 6:27-38 compare to our society’s pursuit of fairness through equity and equality?
- Take some time to pray together for the miracle of such extravagant grace to be worked out in your hearts and lives. If comfortable, pray for specific situations where you can love your enemies.
The Conditions for a Fruitful Life
Readings for the Week: Jer 17:5-10 Ps 1 1Cor 15:12-20 Lk 6:17-26
February 17, 2019
- Set the context. Read Luke 5:17-6:11. What are the ways Jesus’ worldview clashes with that of the religious leaders? Read Luke 6:12-16. Jesus names new leadership for God’s people. “He is ‘doing nothing less than redefining the world, [proposing] as the foundation of this world the OT affirmation of the merciful Father and erecting on this foundation a new set of [character traits or interior qualities.]’” (Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke)
- Read Luke 6:17-19. What are the outcomes of Jesus’ intimate life with the merciful Father?
- What is the connection between our prayer and action? What happens when you separate them, and pray without action, or act without prayer?
- Read Luke 6:19. What would it be like if the only kind of power to come from your life were the power to heal? What destructive forms of power come from your life? (Take a moment of silence to repent.)
- Read Luke 6:20-26. Jesus is using a technique common to Jewish and Greek-Roman literature to describe a “reversal of fortunes…replacing common representations of the world with a new one.” (265) How is Jesus undermining his listeners’, and our, assumptions about the way God works? What is God’s word to you through this text?
The Prophetic Voice: Pushing the Boundaries
Readings for the Week: Ps. 71:1-6, Jer. 1:4-10, 1Cor. 13:1-13
February 3, 2019
Read Luke 4:21-30.
- Read Luke 4:18-19. When Jesus says (in v. 21), “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” what does he mean?
- At first “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” (v. 22) But Jesus knew what was in their hearts. Based on verse 23, what were Jesus’ townspeople wishing for from him? Why was that a problem for Jesus?
- How do Jesus’ statements and stories in vv. 25-27 reinforce the good news to the poor proclaimed in vv. 18 and 19? The bottom line is Grace. God’s favour is directed toward all people, period.
- Why did the townspeople get so angry?
- Prophets are concerned with truth and justice. The difference between Jesus as prophet and the prophets before him is that the prophets delivered God’s message but Jesus is God’s message. In his life, death and resurrection he embodies the truth and justice of grace, God’s unmerited favour extended to all.
- What might it look like for you to live prophetically, that is, to embody the truth and justice of God’s grace extended to all? How do you treat people differently when you live the prophetic message of grace? How do you challenge social structures when you live the prophetic message of grace?