(Part 1 of several)
Jesus never asked a question because He didn’t know the answer.
I, on the other hand, tend to ask questions when I don’t know the answer.
- What time is it? When will my package arrive? Do I have time to play another 9 holes? Will you marry Me? Will I be happy/will I be rich?
But Jesus didn’t ask questions to get answers… He asked questions to help others find answers to their own questions.
Our first question comes from Matthew 5:45: “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.” The Message
Jesus is attempting to break a stranglehold that the devil has over many. He is addressing the Kingdom-destroying attitude of “loving your neighbors and hating your enemies, while He wants us to bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.” (5:43, 44)
He calls us (as maturing disciples) to break free from the ‘us versus them’ mentality that inhibits his Kingdom and behaviors from penetrating our world.
I give Him trouble at times over what He is asking me to do. I like people who like me. I like personal kudos from those I am around. If given the choice, there would be a wide lane between myself and those who appear to hate me, who ridicule and belittle my Savior… the ones who blow their smoke in my face, insult me with their put downs, use words they know offend me and treat me as if my IQ is in the lower 20s!
Yet God hasn’t called any of us to travel the easy road because those who do not yet know Him seldom can be found on that road. And while we can’t immerse ourselves in pagan lifestyles, take the sides of those who blaspheme our Savior… we can include them in our prayers and periodically touch their lives with God’s love for them.
So when Jesus asks the question “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?” let’s weigh our answer carefully. We’re being asked so that we can see what our own hearts look like to Him.
Jesus went a long way to provide salvation freely for everyone. Let’s not put a price tag on it by not willingly offering it to people around us who are not ‘lovable.’