Welcome to our online Bible study on Luke!
Read: Luke 6:27-49
“I don’t think I could ever do that!” I thought to myself.
I was watching a TV program about a man whose only son was killed by a drunk driver. The driver was the same age as the man’s son. Rather than allowing the death of his son to consume him with anger and resentment, the brokenhearted father went to the prison where the perpetrator was incarcerated to forgive the young man.
Today, we read a list of tough commands given by Jesus. At first glance, it looks like a list of dos and don’ts.
- Love your enemies.
- Turn the other cheek.
- Do not judge.
- Lend without expectation of repayment.
I have to be honest, each time I read these commands from Jesus, I squirm. I want to skip over them. However, at the very crux of Jesus’ commands are these words:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. (Luke 6:43-44)
If we are true followers of Jesus, there will be good fruit in our lives and evidence of His transforming power at work in us. Our lives will look different than non-believers. True followers of Christ are called to live by a higher standard.
Thankfully, we are not meant to do this on our own. The Holy Spirit supernaturally empowers us to do the hard things. We are meant to bear fruit so that others will see the glory of our loving Father.
Lavishly love? With the Spirit’s help, we can.
Extravagantly give? With the Spirit’s help, we can.
Radically forgive? With the Spirit’s help, we can.
Even our enemies? Even people who hurt us? Even people who cheat and steal from us?
Jesus did just that on the cross when He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Love. Do good. Bless. Pray for those who mistreat you.
These are the action steps to love with agape love, to truly love sacrificially and unconditionally. When we choose to do the hard thing and embrace the will of God, obeying Him through His mighty power, divine love is manifested.
Divine love transforms hearts. We become less and less like our old selves and more and more like Christ.
The Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The story of the father forgiving the drunk driver has stuck with me for many years. And I was right; I could never forgive so radically. Not in my own strength. But with the power and transforming work of His Spirit, I can.
In that prison, transformation was at work. The young man who was shown great mercy by a grieving father responded with overwhelming gratitude. Conversations ensued, a relationship was formed and the father led the young man to Christ. When he was released from prison, the unlikely duo began a journey together of speaking to high school students about the hazards of drinking and driving.
Sometimes we are the only face of Jesus that others encounter.
Will they recognize Him in us?