Jesus had an enemy in the camp. Judas. Jesus could have made Judas’ life miserable. But he didn’t. He loved him. Jesus washed Judas’ feet the night of his betrayal. He served him communion. He treated him as close follower who was completely devoted to him…
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Loving our enemies is likely one of the harder practical teachings of Jesus for each of us. Our hearts want to be like the world. The world loves who it wants to love, which is typically who loves it back. Love is often a mutual back-scratching exercise. Except with Jesus.
Jesus prayed for his persecutors. Even as he hung on the cross be asked his Father to forgive them. I’m not there yet. How about you?
Are you ready to lend your stuff or your money to your enemies? This is the deep end of the pool.
Judas was secretly against Jesus, working with the religious leaders to set Jesus up. He was more interested in money than he was in Jesus’ movement. While everyone else was blind to his scheming, Jesus knew Judas was his enemy.
Jesus had an enemy in the camp. So we can test Jesus to see if he walks his own talk. Guess what? He did.
Jesus washed Judas’ feet the night of his arrest. He served him in a very personal way. He treated him the same as he treated his closest followers who are completely devoted to him. Ugh.
Not even a bit of malice toward him. No arsenic in his communion juice. Jesus could have made Judas’ life miserable. But he didn’t. He loved him.
Let me repeat: I’m not there yet. Two things are sure, though. First, Jesus’ teaching is clear. And secondly, he showed us how to live it out. Time for us to do likewise…