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Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18

Matthew 5:43-47 – 6. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18

MT5:43 “You heard it said: ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’[1] [Leviticus 19:18] MT5:44 But, I tell you: Love your enemies[2] and pray for your persecutors. MT5:45 And so prove to be Sons of your Heavenly Father.[3] For His sun rises upon the wicked and the good. And He rains upon the righteous and unrighteous. MT5:46 For what is your reward if you only love those loving you? Are not tax-collectors doing the same? MT5:47 And, what extraordinary thing are you doing if you only greet your brothers?[4] Are not the Non-Jews[5] doing the same thing? MT5:48 So, you shall be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.[6]

[1] Hate your enemy: The NJB ftn comments: “The second part of this commandment is not found in the law. It is the brusque expression of a language which has few half-tones and is equivalent to: ‘There is no obligation to love one’s enemy.’” However, one might find the spirit in Psalms 26:5; 101:3; 119:104, 113; 139:21, 22.

[2] Love your enemies: Barclay:

“There is no commandment of Jesus which has caused so much discussion and debate as the commandment to love our enemies.”

The Greek for “love” here is from AGAPE and many feel the English “love” does not do justice to this word. Barclay has it: “Seek the highest good of another.” Perhaps the best definition of AGAPE completely lacks the word in the context: 1 Corinthians 10:24, ‘Seek not for self but for others’ and Philippians 2:4, ‘Look not after self but others.’ AGAPE can be ruled by a) principle; and, b) motive. If the principle or motive be wrong then the AGAPE is misdirected. If the motive and principle are correct then the AGAPE is pure. There are only 4 occurrences of AGAPAO in the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings (Matthew 5:43, 44, 46; 6:24). Luke 6:27-35 outlines how this “love” is demonstrated: 1) pray for; 2) do good to; and, 3) lend without interest (Compare Luke 6:28 and Romans 12:20: enemies). Luke adds ‘pray for insulting’ and ‘do good to hateful.’ (Romans 12:14: bless) Your enemies are those who do not love you and are most often found among those bowing next to you in prayer or singing loudly God’s praises!

Paul argues that the “law’s fulfillment” is found in “love of neighbor.” (Galatians 5:14) If “love of neighbor” fulfills the law, what does “love of enemy” do? It leaps light years ahead of the Mosaic Law or Torah and puts before the average man a difficult, if not impossible task, unless one is committed to Nazarene discipleship.

[3] Prove to be Sons of your Heavenly Father: See Luke 6:35. Divine sonship does not come by birth as John 1:12, 13 shows. There must be a “birth from above.” (1 John chapters 3, 4) The strongest proof of this status as a son is to love one’s enemies. As Matthew and Luke show, the Father does good to both the wicked and unthankful. Thus, no Nazarene Saint can argue that one can withhold goodness from the wicked or ungrateful. It is the tendency to show kindness to those loving you, whereas God’s love is showered on those who might still ignore Him and continue to exist in a sinful state. With the Nazarene these are not mere words, for we see him demonstrating this again and again.

[4] If you only greet your brothers: Various renderings: TCNT: show courtesy to; GDSP: if you are polite to your brothers only; PHI: greetings only within your own circle. There is much of just plain good manners here and this graciousness is across the social board. The ultimate display of hate is to ignore greeting those with the simplest words that might indicate some spark of recognition or respect.

There is an exception which John, a witness to the Mountain Teachings, mentions at 2 John verse 10 in the context of known antichrists and deceivers.

[5] Non-Jews: This is ETHNIKOI in Greek, from which comes the English “ethnic.” The word means non-Jew and possibly rouses a certain feeling of superiority in Jesus’ audience. The Nazarene uses it four times in his sermon (Matthew 5:47; 6:7, 32).

[6] Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

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Preceding article: Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

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Additional reading

  1. Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility
  2. A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ
  3. Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments
  4. Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works
  5. Luther’s misunderstanding
  6. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  7. Wrath kills the foolish man, and envy consumes the covetous one
  8. If You want to start winning the war
  9. Love one another; just as I have loved you
  10. Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God
  11. Leaders in disguise
  12. The days are coming
  13. Today’s thought “Clothing yourselves with the right attitude” (May 16)
  14. Thought for September 8 Weak but standing strong in the ground swell
  15. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  16. Improving the world by improving the Faith
  17. Time Has A Way Of Healing

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Further reading

  1. The Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) –
  2. Let’s Get Practical.
  3. A Love-Hate Relationship
  4. Love Your Enemies
  5. Matthew 5 – The Sermon on the Mount
  6. The divinely approved enemy
  7. When Belief Shows Up In Behavior.
  8. Godly Love.
  9. Peter Doesn’t Hold Back – Acts 4
  10. Proverbs 10 – Integrity and Love
  11. Proverbs 21 – Finding Life, Righteousness, and Honor
  12. 5 Reasons Why I’m Not a 5 Point Calvinist – A Biblical Response
  13. The suffering of the rightous
  14. TFTD – 05 July 2014 – Thoughts from Today’s Bible Readings
  15. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 10:1-15
  16. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise Matthew 5:27-32
  17. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise5:33-37
  18. The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 5:43-48
  19. Matthew 5:44-45
  20. Forgiving Others
  21. Forgiveness 1
  22. Forgiveness 2
  23. Forgiveness 3
  24. Forgiveness 4
  25. Is Forgiveness The Key To Happiness?
  26. Forgiveness: An Act of Self Love
  27. Daily Inspiration – Forgiveness is a Wonderful thing.
  28. Expressions of Love
  29. How to Love the Unlovable
  30. Forgive Your Enemies
  31. Today’s Scripture reading (Love your enemies)
  32. Daily Bible Verse Matthew 5:44
  33. Scripture Verse Of The Week ‘Matthew 16 verse 25’
  34. Rise And Stand
  35. Resistance Isn’t Futile
  36. Friday, September 5, 2014
  37. Targeted Attacks by The Enemy
  38. At Odds with the World
  39. When we put on the “armor of God” – let’s not to forget to “walk humbly”
  40. Paris – Charlie Hebdo? The only way to win this thing is to love
  41. Paris terror and Christian response to evil
  42. When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. 
  43. Do not gloat when your enemies fall
  44. Of Dissonance and Hashkafah
  45. On A Common Curse
  46. One More Way How Not To Become A Saint
  47. Peace child
  48. What compassion, what patience
  49. Love in Action
  50. Jesus Motivates Us to Move to a Higher AGAPE Love Walk!
  51. Agape Love vs. Erotic Love

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