Nevertheless, to you who are listening, what I say is this:
“Love your enemies!
Do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
“If someone hits you on one cheek,
offer the other too;
if someone takes your coat,
let him have your shirt as well.
“If someone asks you for something,
give it to him;
if someone takes what belongs to you,
don’t demand it back.
“Treat other people as you would like them to treat you. What credit is it to you if you love only those who love you? Why, even sinners love those who love them. What credit is it to you if you do good only to those who do good to you? Even sinners do that. What credit is it to you if you lend only to those who you expect will pay you back? Even sinners lend to each other, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing back! Your reward will be great, and you will be children of Ha‘Elyon; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Show compassion, just as your Father shows compassion.
and you won’t be judged.
and you won’t be condemned.
and you will be forgiven.
and you will receive gifts —the full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing, will be put right in your lap. For the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure back to you!”
He also told them a parable: “Can one blind man lead another blind man? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A talmid is not above his rabbi; but each one, when he is fully trained, will be like his rabbi. So why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, but not notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the splinter from your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye; then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother’s eye!
“For no good tree produces bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit — figs aren’t picked from thorn bushes, nor grapes from a briar patch. The good person produces good things from the store of good in his heart, while the evil person produces evil things from the store of evil in his heart. For his mouth speaks what overflows from his heart.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ but not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me, hears my words and acts on them — I will show you what he is like: he is like someone building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on bedrock. When a flood came, the torrent beat against that house but couldn’t shake it, because it was constructed well. And whoever hears my words but doesn’t act on them is like someone who built his house on the ground without any foundation. As soon as the river struck it, it collapsed and that house became a horrendous wreck!”
A good disciple was one who sat at the feet of his rabbi, each and every day, listening and soaking in the rabbi’s every word. A great disciple was one who walked in the dust of his rabbi, who followed him everywhere he went, so closely that he would have been covered in the dust of his rabbi’s travels. Paying attention to the way he walked, the way he spoke, and becoming more and more adapted and conformed to the ways of his rabbi. Clearly the disciple that looked most like the rabbi was the one who spent the most time with him, such that the rabbi’s ways became his own.
As disciples of Christ, this is the kind of relationship that He wants to have with us. Not that we would just listen to His words and move on with our days, but that we would follow Him, let His words seep deep into our hearts and cause us to act. The more we spend time with Him through prayer and His Word, and the more that we apply His teachings to our lives, the more like Him we will become.
A disciple who is fully trained will be like his rabbi. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When we are trained, we will be equipped for every good work. We will be able to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, forgive those who have wronged us, do good without expecting anything back. We will be filled with compassion, just as our good Father is full of compassion, even for the wicked and ungrateful. We will be slow to judge others, as we will be more focused on removing the sin from our own lives before condemning the sins of our brethren. We will be trees that produce good fruit and houses built on solid foundations.
We will produce good things from the store of good in our hearts. Yet, if our hearts are deceitful and wicked, then this good must come from outside ourselves. The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
If we want hearts that are full of goodness, truth, and righteousness, we have to fill them with more of Christ – His Word and His instruction. It will not come from ourselves, but only through time spent learning from our Rabbi! AMEN!