Luke 6:36-38 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
The twelve closest to Jesus had just come down from spending time worshipping Jesus on the mountain where they had been bestowed new names, that of apostles. They were no longer disciples, which signified learning. Now, Jesus had given them the title of “apostle,” or emissary. Jesus had pronounced these close friends as His representatives.
And then, starting in verse 27, we find perhaps Luke’s most focused summary of Jesus’ teachings for his apostles that He brings to a climax in verses 36 to 38. What does Luke want us to get here?
Starting in verse 27, Luke continues the theme we encountered these last few reflections for Lent: Luke wants us to truly understand this new lifestyle is so profoundly different, the gift we have been given of new life in a new Kingdom is so earth-shatteringly and eternally radically transformational, it actually empowers us to endure the pain of loving those we consider our enemies.
This new Kingdom starts right here, close in, with Jesus’ friends. And how one loves his enemies reveals and proclaims the liberation from the old way of doing things, from a self-protective way of life to a self-emptying new way of life. We’ve been liberated from death, there’s nothing left to fear, nothing left to protect. We’ve been given everything, so we can give it all away without fear of losing anything.
Luke says here, “Let your enemies and circumstances press in on you from all sides and what will come pouring out of this new life you’ve been given will be a gift to others of divine love and liberation.”
As you begin this new week, how has your Father been merciful to you recently?
In what ways are circumstances or people creating pressure in your life currently?
How does God want to use this pressure to pour our mercy, love and forgiveness to others?