Give, Because God Does!

December 17 2014

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Let’s continue on the theme of giving.  One of the oft-quoted verses that deal with this is Luke 6:38 (NIV)

      Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken to-
      gether and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure
      you use, it will be measured to you.

The context does not have its concentration on the subject of money.  It context starts with the Beatitudes – Luke 6:20 through 23.  Very briefly, the Beatitudes deal with how a disciple of Jesus reacts to poverty (verse 20); hunger and tears (verse 21); and being hated, excluded, reviled and slandered (verse 22).  The person who is the Lord’s should “…rejoice….For indeed your reward is great in heaven…” (verse 23).  Next Jesus warned His followers in Luke 6:24 through 26 about pursuing riches and being filled with food and laughter in this life.

Then in verses 27 through 38 He went on to give examples of what the Israelites were experiencing in their nation on an everyday basis and how to respond to such situations.

•      Luke 6:27 and 28 – “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Remember that Israel was an occupied country, under the dominion of Rome.  Romans soldiers were very often seen in the land, especially in the capital city of Jerusalem, which could be at times a hotbed for rebellion!  These occupying troops were not usually courteous and caring to the Jewish population!  The soldiers often hated them, cursed them, and used them to their own advantage!

•      Luke 6:29 – “To him who strikes you on the one cheek offer the other also.”  Some-times the occupying Romans soldiers resorted to physical violence!

•      Luke 6:30 – “And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you.  And of him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.”  Sometimes it would involve confiscation of goods and property, taken by threat of (or actual) violence!  The Greek word in this verse for ‘ask‘ can also be translated ‘require.’

•      Luke 6:31 – “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”  It is called The Golden Rule.  And it is not easily practiced upon a enemy who hates you and occupies your beloved homeland!

•      Luke 6:32 through 34 – Do not just…love those who love you….”  Do not just…do good to those who do good to you….”  Do not just…lend to those from whom you hope to receive back….”  Sinners do that much!  The followers of the Lord are called to a much higher standard!

•      Luke 6:35 – “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”  The Romans were counted by most Jews to be their enemies!  And the Jews were treated as such by most of the occupying Romans!  But God loved these Gentile sinners, and eventually raised up Saint Paul as “…the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles…” (Romans 15:16), “…that they should repent [and] turn to God…” (Acts 26:20).  As God’s people, the Jews, whom God had called to Himself centuries before, should also “…love…[their] enemies….

•      Luke 6:36 – “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”  Mercy does not give what is deserved.  What sinners deserve – Romans, Jews and all others – is God’s condemnation and eternal hell!  But what God offers us is out of His grace – what we do not deserve – forgiveness, life in heaven forever, and abundant life now!

•      Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged.  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.”  Don’t judge the Romans?  Don’t condemn them?  Forgive them?  The Lord is calling the Jews to do a very hard thing!  But isn’t this what God offers us at the cost of His own Son’s life – not to be judged unto condemnation, but to be forgiven?

Now, as said, this especially applied in this scripture context to the occupying Romans.  But any person or group of people can so act against us and offend us!  If the Jews were called to treat the Romans in a godly way, how much more are we called to represent our Lord Jesus in our way of life?  God has already done for us what is good, merciful and gracious!  Should not we let Him do it through us for others – even our enemies?

We haven’t even arrived at our featured verse of Luke 6:38. But we will next time!

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