But I Say Unto You

“Ye have heard that is hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” — Matthew 5:43-44 KJV

By Bill Kulkens

The Lord Jesus exposed the false teachings that the religious leaders were preaching in His day. Among the many false teachers were the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and lawyers. They focused on outward conformity to the law of Moses. The Lord Jesus brought us God’s perspective, which includes the heart – the inward moral reality of mankind.

The verses above show us the last of six quotes by the Lord from the Old Testament and His explanation for them. Right away, if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that while outwardly we may be able to show obedience to some or all of these commands, inwardly we know we come up short. When we review the kings of Israel and Judah we see the same failures on many of the six commands that the Lord reviewed. In fact, all of mankind is disobedient inwardly in some way.

Only the Lord Jesus was completely obedient to the law of Moses, both inwardly and outwardly. He not only taught us that we need to love our enemies and not hate them, He also lived that way. When the Lord considered Jerusalem’s rejection of Him, He shared His desire to bless and not curse; but the people “would not” receive Him and His blessing (Mt. 23:37). At the time when the Lord revealed to Peter that he would deny knowing Him, the Lord told His disciple that He had prayed for him (Lk. 22:31-32). The very moment Judas Iscariot arrived to betray the Lord, He greeted the betrayer with the term “friend” (Mt. 26:50). Dying on the cross by the hands of wicked men, the Lord Jesus asked His Father to “forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).

What a wonderful, faithful Savior! He alone deserves our worship and praise.