God's word comes in Leviticus this week. No, not THAT passage. These are rather interesting pieces that break the habit of Leviticus in dealing with ritual, sacrifice, feasts, and priests. They deal with social relations among different people. It tells farmers to leave alone the edges of their fields to allow the poor to glean from them. It prohibits holding back the pay of a worker, and implicitly suggests taking care of the disabled. It prohibits perverting justice to favor either the poor or the rich. It prohibits acting dangerously toward a neighbor, and hating another "in your heart," while also encouraging a frank rebuke. Finally, it says not to seek revenge or bear a grudge, but to "love your neighbor as yourself."
Yes, that last one should sound familiar. When Jesus gets challenged about the Torah-Law, he quotes the Leviticus passage as one of two passages that sum up the whole Torah-Law.
He also alludes to it in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:43. He is continuing his crazy talk from last week, only now he is getting very specific in cases where his audience will recognize things that have happened to them, and recall how they responded.
He takes "love your neighbor" and pushes it even further with "love your enemies." That must have caused a few gasps, like in the image above.
He starts comparing people. For those whom you view as evil or unrighteous, don't be so certain about your judgments, he warns. God sends the sun and rain to both. "If you love those who love you," so what - even tax collectors do that. "If you greet/welcome only your brothers, what MORE are you doing than others? Don't even unbelievers do that?"
Continuing the thread from last week where Jesus said that their righteousness needed to EXCEED the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus makes the point that a genuinely faithful person who is living for the Kingdom and Kingdom values will be clear and outstanding. Their light will shine!
Check out the sermon video below and note the downloads below the video panel.