September 24, 2012
He Practiced what He Taught
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies,
do good to them that hate you; bless them that curse you.
In Luke’s companion treatise, the book of the Acts, he quotes Peter summarizing the life of the Lord Jesus Christ: “He went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38). Even the most vituperative and bitter critics of Christianity have to own that He did good in His life. They may deny the claims to His deity, they may scoff at the need for a “blood-religion,” they may scorn the idea of eternal judgment, and dismiss the claims of Christ as belonging to a Victorian age; but they cannot deny that “He did good” to all with whom He came into contact.
But the quotation above emphasizes that He not only did good, but He did good to the least deserving. In one sense, we are all undeserving and unworthy of His attention. But He loved His enemies and did good to those who sought to destroy Him.
Luke 6 records the Lord Jesus Christ doing “good” in the synagogue with a hostile crowd looking on to find fault. The critics and the cynics did not hinder Him from turning a withered hand into a working hand, from taking wasted, atrophied muscles and frail bones and creating an entirely healthy hand. Amidst His enemies, He “did good.”
But the chapter also records something more. In verses 13-16 He chose His disciples. Among them, He chose a Judas. Here was a man who would eventually prove to be an apostate and betray and value the Lord Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Yet the Lord Jesus did good to His enemy. He chose him, honored him with the position of treasurer, cared for him, met his needs as part of the band of disciples, patiently taught and wooed him, loved him, and bore with him for three years. All the while, there was rising in the heart of Judas a burning hatred and opposition to the Man Who was meeting his every need. The Lord Jesus was doing good to one who hated Him; He was showing love to His enemy.
So when He preached in verses 27-36, He had already lived it in verse 16.
1. The teaching of verses 35-36 is that in His dealings with men, the Lord Jesus was revealing what our Father is like. Think of the cost to Him at every step and stage of life to reveal faithfully and fully, the character of His Father.
2. How would you understand verse 29 in light of John 18:22, 23?
3. “He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil” (v 35). Trace this principle in the life of the Lord Jesus. Did He ever answer evil men merely to stump them or were even His rebukes