Matthew 5:43, 44 says “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
In the Greco-Roman context Jesus lived in, this is a revolutionary idea. Which is great, but I am going to leave that discussion to other scholars and bloggers. I want to touch on something not as apparent as a moral code or an instruction. I want to look at what Jesus says next:
“In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. … But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Mat 5:45,48 (NLT)
He reveals that the Father loves his enemies. Christ says it here, but shows us at the cross.
“Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners” – Matthew 26:45
“For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart” – Hebrews 12:3
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered up to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and will deliver him up to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify him…” – Matthew 20:18
At the cross there is no more pretences about Israel’s and humanity’s heart towards God. It is the height of humanity’s antagonism against Christ.
Humanity murdered God. We are his enemy.
And yet, He uses this moment to draw us in, He enters into our darkness, our hell. And there, in our betrayal, he shows us unequivocally that He loves us. Not because we are good, not because we love Him… not because of us.
He loves, because He loves us, because He loves us…