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?

God has given you a choice that you cannot escape making

Someone I know and love told me that she was taught that God knows which people will be saved and which ones will be sent to hell.  So she professes that if she is to be saved she will be saved, if she is not to be saved she won’t be saved, and there’s nothing she can do about it.  She claims to have no personal responsibility for deciding whether to follow Jesus or not.

She had an Afghan dog that could jump very high.  So high in fact that she had to put a leash on him because he could jump over the high fence in her back yard.  He would then be gone for days and in danger of getting hit by cars.  I said to her, “You know that if you put him outside without a leash he will jump the fence right?”  She said “yes.”  “Because you know what he will do, does that mean you want him to jump the fence and get hurt?  Or, that you are forcing him to jump the fence?”  She said “no.”  “If you know what your dog will do if given a free choice, how much more does an infinitely wise, all-knowing God know what we as people, His creation, will do given a free choice?  But that does not mean He has decided what we will do or forces us to do it,” I concluded.

God said that he wants no one to perish but all to turn away from sin; He wants each one of us to turn to the love and life and meaning found only in Jesus.  But, Jesus also said that no one seeks Him on their own initiative.  So, God gives us circumstances and relationships to try to influence our decision; to help us to learn that sin harms and His love benefits; and to come to seek Him and to trust His character.  God loves us first and he desires our love in return.  He enables us to choose Him if we want to choose Him.  But he leaves the decision up to us.  Love cannot be forced.  Love is always the choice of a free will.

You may be reading this wondering if God loves you, if God wants you in heaven with Him.  Jesus willingly took the punishment for your sins and mine so that we could spend forever with Him in heaven and with all who love Him.  Freely choose Him today.  Accept His death as full payment to God for your sins.  Let Him lead you today.  He will fill your life with other people who love Him and love you and take you on an adventure you cannot imagine.

Why doesn’t God want me to have fun?

Before I met Jesus I sometimes thought that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Christians were BORING!!!  For example, if a man and woman who were not married wanted to be intimate, why would God want to stop them?  Love is good right?  They’re not hurting anyone so what’s the problem?  Why doesn’t God want people to have fun?

The Bible says sin definitely is fun.  God says in the Bible that you can “…enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (Hebrews 11:25b NIV84).  The fun doesn’t last, however.  And the fun ultimately results in separation from God and his love forever.  Why?  Sin always hurts God or people or both.  And it always hurts ourselves.  God jealously loves us and He wants nothing to hurt us.  That’s why He gave us the Bible.  In it are His commands and principles for us to live by so that we can know how not to hurt God, others, and ourselves.  And how to truly love and do good.  But knowing that is not enough.  We need a heart transplant.  We need our spirits made alive.  Jesus says He will give us a heart of flesh for a heart of stone.  Jesus said he will make our dead spirits alive like His.  He said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

For Jesus to change us we need to believe that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  Then we need to agree with Him (confess) that we have hurt Him, others and ourselves and that with His help we will try to never sin again (repentance).  Then we need to trust Him, that His death on the cross paid the full debt we owed God (faith).  Then ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit.  We then need to tell others about the wonderful thing God has done for us.  And repent if we sin again.

Now that I have a relationship with Jesus my life has never been more of a fun adventure.  The more I obey Him the more fulfilling it is.  I found out that satan’s “fun” was only a worthless imitation of the joy that Jesus freely gives.  Life with Jesus also has been more difficult in other ways.  Satan attacks my mind more now.   But now I have Jesus living inside me through the power of the Holy Spirit and He guides me and encourages me, He protects me and provides for me.  And, He helps me write about Him in this blog.

I hope you will choose Jesus over sin.  You will never regret it.


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