September 24, 2020
John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
New International Version (NIV)
Do we love our enemies?  I know we love our friends.  But what about those who actively seek to harm us?  It is counterintuitive, I know.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples gathered around him on the mountain to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them (Matthew 5:44).  To illustrate he pointed to his Father who causes his sun to shine on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

If we were God, would we be tempted to target the evil with storms?  “No sun for you!” we might say to the wicked.  Or would we put a perpetual thunder cloud over the evil until they turn from their ways?  But God doesn’t work that way.  Tropical storm Beta becomes exhibit A for the dispersion of rain.  As far as I can tell everyone on my block got about the same amount of rain.  Now we wait for the sun, but when it comes, it will hit all of us eventually.

Jesus illustrated this for the disciples earlier in the evening.  He washed Judas’s feet and fed him bread at the table.   To be clear, Jesus knew that Judas would betray him that evening, but he fed him the bread that represented his own body.  Judas took it and then went out into the night.  Why would Jesus serve one who had made a deal to betray him?  “For God so loved the world . . .”  Like the prophet Jonah, we may be disturbed that God loves his enemies. 

Carefully consider with me:  whom do you consider your enemy?  Is there someone you just can’t stand?  Perhaps it is another believer.  Maybe, I hope not, it is a member of your own family.  The only way the world will know that we are Jesus’ apprentices is if we love one another.  Again, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that when we are kind to those who are unkind to us we prove our paternity traces to God, “that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:45).

Someday, maybe today, someone will harm us in some way.  We must prepare ahead of time to respond in love.  It will not just happen.  Natural instincts will take over unless we submit them to the Lord of love.  Now that he has washed our feet, we can wash feet of others.  Because we are loved we may choose to love.  Every time we do, we give others another reason to doubt the rumor that there is no God.
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for Jesus who did not come to be served but to serve.  Make us servants who love others today.  Show us, please, someone we may serve in love today.  Forgive us for foolishly thinking of others as our enemies.  Help us to transform them into friends by loving them sacrificially today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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