Did Jesus love His enemies?

In Jesus’ day the Pharisees were politically powerful religious leaders.  Jesus called them hypocrites.  I don’t think they liked that.  I used to think that the Pharisees were the Bad Guys, and that I was like Jesus, one of the Good Guys.  I also thought Jesus and I were against the Bad Guys.  (Later I learned that I was one of the Bad Guys, I was just like the Pharisees but didn’t know it).  And I didn’t know that Jesus is against “sin”, not people.

Jesus cared about the Pharisees and told them He was the Christ, the Promised One they were waiting for.  He told them this while He hung from the cross, dying (and the Pharisees were mocking Him).  Jesus quoted the first line of Psalm 22, a Scripture that the Pharisees, who prided themselves on knowing the Scripture, would be familiar with. 

Matthew wrote:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lamasabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46, NKJV).

Psalm 22, that Jesus was quoting, starts with:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?  Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? (Psalm 22:1, NKJV).

Hundreds of years before it happened, Psalm 22 also described exactly what the Pharisees would do to Jesus and say about Him.  King David wrote:

They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:18 NKJV).

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.  All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” (Psalm 22:6-8 NKJV)

Then Luke recorded what the Pharisees and Roman guards did to Jesus hundreds of years after Psalm 22 predicted their actions:

And they divided His garments and cast lots.  And the people stood looking on.  But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” (Luke 23:32-35, NKJV)

Jesus cared enough about the people who were torturing Him and killing Him to reach out to them in a way they would understand.  He let them know “their Scripture” was being fulfilled before their very eyes.  He did this even though He knew that not many Pharisees would believe Him.

This was predicted in Habakkuk 1:5, NKJV:

“Look among the nations and watch – Be utterly astounded!  For I will work a work in your days, Which you would not believe, though it were told you.”

And in Acts 13:41, NKJV it was reiterated:

“Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish!  For I work a work in your days,  A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.”

(The Bible records that at least one Pharisee, Nicodemus, believed Jesus.  Nicodemus helped take Jesus down from the cross and bury Him after He died).

Jesus gave all that He is and proved that He loves everyone.  And that includes you.  The only question that remains is… what are you going to do with His love and forgiveness for you?

You can actively reject Him.  In which case you will die in your sins.  And then you will face Jesus, whose love and forgiveness you rejected, and He will, with His nail scarred hand, point you to the only place left for you… the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

You could ignore Him, make no decision for Him, and live your life independent of Him.  The problem with that plan is that “no answer” is the “answer no”.  This would be passively rejecting Him.

You could claim you didn’t know what to do.  But you’ve read too much to claim that.

Or, you could accept His love and forgiveness, give Him rightful control of your life every day and start a relationship and an adventure with the One Who loves you unconditionally and completely.  There will be opposition from satan and other people, to be sure.  But, Jesus has overcome the world, and you and the family of believers (the Church) will face every obstacle with Jesus by our side, and Jesus will be fighting for us.

God gives each of us the choice – to reject, ignore or accept – His free offer of eternal life with Him.  What will you choose?

Author: james bruce mcnaughton

I became Seriously Mentally Ill at age 18, ten years later I got and took the right meds, I accepted Jesus, and my recovery began.

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