Day 28

A different kind of takeover

After letting his disciples know what they should expect as they leave this mountaintop experience with him, he begins explaining the Father's plan for reaching the world. I imagine the atmosphere was electrifying, with everyone shouting, "Let's take the world!". Jesus quiets them and begins sharing the game plan to bring freedom from Rome and the curse of sin. They all listen with great anticipation to the new plan. It is a great play, and one Jesus will explain and live out in front of His new leaders and disciples over the coming two years. It will end in the ultimate act of love– His death.

Read Luke 6:27-49

As you read this passage, how would you identify the core value of this kingdom movement?

In what way was this a radical love to be expressed?

Jesus uses two illustrations in Luke 6:43-49. What are these illustrations saying to us?

Today, what are some practical ways in which you can live out radical love?

The plan is so simple and yet so revolutionary. Jesus unveils to his new leaders the team plan, which, simply put, is something like, "don't kill a roman; Hug a roman." From the world's standpoint, it is a crazy plan to love your enemies. How will loving my enemy bring about change, freedom, and liberation? It must have sounded to them like the craziest plan in the world. It still sounds crazy 2,000 years later. How can loving my enemy free me from him? But did you read the plan carefully? It is a radical type of love. It is not human love, which always has some return tied to it. It is a love that expects nothing in return (Luke 6:35). This radical, supernatural, God-like kind of love will change the world. Are you ready to put it into practice? Give it a try. But how? How does it work? Good question- one those first disciples had as well.

Look again at Luke 6:37-38. In these verses, we see Jesus' idea of how to put this love into practice. HE says first to stop judging other people. To express this love, you must stop taking over God's job as judge. Second, you have to stop condemning people for their actions. Instead, you need to freely extend forgiveness in Jesus' name– not because they deserve it, but because Jesus instructs us to. That is how you show your enemies love- not by judging or condemning them, but by extending forgiveness. I don't think this is easy. If you do, you have missed the point. Remember, for these early disciples, the Romans were one of their enemies. They had family and friends that had lost fingers for not being about to pay taxes, and they knew people who had died at the hands of the Romans and had seen women who had been raped. For them to not condemn but extend forgiveness was no human activity. It is a kind of love that God can only bring about.

Now I want to be clear; this love is not the mush-mouth love that permeates our world today. If you were unfortunate enough to watch the Grammy awards Sunday night, you no doubt heard a lot about "love," but that is not the same thing as Jesus introduces. Unfortunately, due to our well-meaning obedience to Jesus, we all tend to fall into one of two camps. On one side of the aisle, we'll overly apply the command to "love," As a result, nothing is condemned, and Satan worship is broadcast on National TV. On the other hand, we may fall into the trap of denouncing everything and, as a result, lose our voice on the topic and are labeled as "fanatics."

Simply put, love does not wrong another. As Christians, we are called to love our "enemies." We are to do no wrong to another. We treat as we'd expect treatment. We measure merit (judge) the way we'd like to be measured, and that standard is God's truth.

Forgive me; I'm getting off the point of today's Devo- but  I want to be abundantly clear that when we use words like "love" and "judge," we must consider the context in which they are used and submit to God to be the authority of what they mean. Merriam-Webster can say whatever they'd like. God is a higher authority.

Getting back to our Devo-

Their faces must have shown how shocked they were as Jesus revealed the Father's plan for the defeat of Rome. I can only imagine how deflated they must have felt as Jesus revealed this plan to His excited, anxious, and hurting disciples. Then He turned to His leaders and told them that the blind could not lead the blind (Luke 6:39), so He expects them to take the lead in supernatural forgiveness. The next thing he says is amazing: "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." Wow! Mark that down. It starts with Jesus, the teacher who will show them the way. Then, he will live his lifestyle of supernatural forgiveness and train them to do the same. I believe this supernatural love brought down the Roman empire even as the early church demonstrated that love by voluntarily giving their lives for the cause of Christ and forgiving their killers.

Jesus then tells them to stop judging others' sins and start doing some self-examining of their hearts. For it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks forgiveness. At this point, I can only imagine the expressions on the faces of these disciples. Jess ends this Leadership 101 class by saying to those first disciples, "why call me your Lord if you are not even going to listen to what I teach you? Go out now to return to your homes and obey me. Love your enemies! Do this by offering them undeserved forgiveness instead of judgment and condemnation, and the movement will multiply rapidly."

Do you want to see God's hand in your life? Then obey Him. Who is your enemy? Make a list. It can be people close and far away. It doesn't matter how long the list is; just be honest. Between you and God, who have you condemned in your mind? That is your enemy. We do this almost every single day. We judge others' motives, attitudes, and actions without knowing all the facts. We consider them guilty, and then we pass judgment and hand out our sentence of silence, gossip, or worse.

Now the tricky part. Give it a try.

Pick one person on your list and extend forgiveness to them today.

How is the idea of "Judging others" poisoned today?

How is Biblical love for our enemies different than cultural love today?

Ask God to search your heart, reveal your judgmental attitudes, confess them, and receive His forgiveness.


Larry - February 8th, 2023 at 6:39am

As (always)when I read this especially in The Book of Matthew, Even today I am totally undone. This is the KEY to true authentic Christianity in ones life a fuel gauge of who I trully am!! Blessed are you oh King, great in Forgiveness and Compassion, please be patient with me.

Amanda Welch - February 8th, 2023 at 11:13am

I think when we see people like the ones at the Grammy’s who are worshiping Satan, our hearts should break knowing the lies they are engulfed in. We should be praying for them instead of condemning them. Imagine what good they could do for His kingdom if they loved Jesus! They have been deceived by the deceiver- lied to by the Father of lies. They are too far in for us to expect them to know “better.”

On the other hand, as Christians- we should take a stand against this culture infiltrating our phones/computers /tvs and homes. We should see through the lies that it is “just a show” or “art” and see the evil that is right in front of us. We must be aware of what is out there but not be pulled into it.

Jesus was the best at handling sinners- saved and unsaved, what a great example for us.

Tricia Langley - February 12th, 2023 at 5:01pm

You covered a lot of territory in this one, Jon. Thank you for addressing the Satan worship of the Grammy's. I didn't watch it, as I don't watch any of the self indulgent awards shows, but, it's important to be aware how much this has infiltrated our society, and the not so subtle attempts to normalize it and bring it into mainstream. This really does highlight some tough questions for us. Isn't Satan an enemy of God? And so aren't Satan worshippers enemies of mine? And if they are coming for our children (they are) doesn't this call for the very strongest level of protection? I appreciate that you didn't want to stray too far from the devotional at hand, but, such a shocking display on national television does warrant a response, so thank you for addressing that.

Jon Welch - February 13th, 2023 at 5:52pm

A few thoughts quickly:

1. Satan is an enemy of God... and by nature, we are as well.

2. We need to be careful when it comes to others. They are enemies of God... but not necessarily of ours. We should treat them as those who need the light of the world. We treat "followers" of the world differently than "leaders," See Timothy and Titus.

3. Yes, strong protection for our children... That's why, for example, I'm a supporter of the homeschool movement.

I'm pressed for time, and if I don't reply now, I'll probably forget... so I hope this short reply is helpful!