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This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.
(Note: The reflection done by Meredith on Sunday is found at the end of this TB)
One of the reasons why Christianity spread so rapidly in the early centuries was not because their programs were the slickest or because of eloquent speakers. It was love, the radical love of the Christians that revolutionized their world. As we approach Easter, we are once again reminded of the amazing love of Christ that empowered and propelled those early Christ followers to love their world.
This past Sunday we looked at Luke 6:27-36 in our series, Who Is This, Anyway? Jesus says some things about loving our world that might be perceived as crazy, in comparison to how we might normally think. Before jumping into the text, think of your own world and identify who is hard to love. Who is it that makes you want to run, dodge, hide, do anything but engage and demonstrate the love of Christ? When you think of that person or persons, what are the emotions connected with that face?
Now take some time to read through the text and note all the statements that seem radical or counter culture to our world or your world. What statements do you find most challenging? What statements seem most illogical? What statement describes the exact opposite of what you would naturally do?
This past Sunday, I made three points about “crazy love”:
Crazy love does not love people because they are loveable or deserve it. (v.27-31)
Discuss what it is about these folks in this text that makes them hard to love. How does the Golden Rule (v.31) change our perspective on loving people? What is the question that the Golden Rule implies we ask when attempting to love a difficult person? How would living by this rule change a relationship you are currently in? How would living by this rule change a lost, broken relationship you have experienced?
Crazy love challenges us to take the higher road. (v.27-34)
Identify the “high road and “low road” actions and attitudes of this section (for example the high road of love versus the low road of being an enemy). Notice how opposite the high road is versus the low road. This is where the tension is.
On Sunday we talked about how Jesus wasn’t talking about judicial law but personal relationships. Jesus understands - and the rest of Scripture illustrates - the need for good, just government. In this text Jesus is specifically talking about personal relationships amongst non believers (note that this kind of love needs to be practiced amongst Christians as well.) We also noted in this text that Jesus is using a teaching method called hyperbole in some of these statements.
Hyperbole: A rhetorical exaggeration, a figure of speech often used by Jewish wisdom teachers to underline their point. The point of Jesus’ hyperbolic illustrations is generally to grab the hearer’s attention and force that hearer to take his point seriously.
With this in mind, will there be times we need to do literally what Jesus is saying in v.29,30? What are some modern-day examples of v.29, 20? Read through 1 Peter 3:9-12. Also read Phil 1:9-11 and discuss “discerning what is best” in light of Jesus’ words.
I think in all of this there is a danger to avoid. The danger is to miss out on how radically Jesus is asking us to love.
Bob Deffinbaugh says, “I think that we can quickly see that one must interpret and apply our Lord’s words in the light of other biblical principles. But while there may be exceptions, our Lord’s intent is to deeply imbed the principle in our minds.”
Crazy love does not expect anything back and does expect something back- this statement sounds crazy. (v.35,36)
What does this text say about not expecting anything back?
What is the danger in loving with the condition of expecting something back?
What do you do if this is someone’s reality (getting nothing back) in a marriage or as a parent?
Notice where the text says there is reward. What do we learn about reward here? What might we expect from God?
Notice how Jesus words bring the listener to the point of realizing that God demonstrated this kind of love and as we look back with hindsight, we realize Jesus will demonstrate this kind of love on the cross.
Take some time to pray for empowerment to love in this “crazy” way. Also take some time as we approach Easter to reflect and thank God for modelling this kind of love to us.
Reflection - by Meredith MacKenzie
This passage in Luke talks about a radical love, there is nothing normal or boring about this type of love...it is absolutely transforming.
What if worldwide, Christians practiced this radical love?
What if Canadian Christians loved like Luke chapter 6? What would our politics look like? What would foreign and local policies look like?
What if you practiced radical love? What would your world look like? What would your church look like? What would your workplace look like? What would your relationships look like? What would your family look like?
What if that radical love in Luke Chapter 6 motivated us to:
- speak for those without a voice (Prov. 31:8-9),
- defend the rights of the poor and needy (Jer. 22:15-16),
- proclaim freedom for the captives (Luke 4:18),
- love our Lord with all our heart and soul and our neighbour as ourselves,
- practice justice, mercy and faithfulness (Zech 7:8-10),
- bring justice to the nations (Is 42:1),
- stop the trampling on the heads of the poor and maintain their rights (Ps 82:3),
- act justly, love mercy and walk humbly (Micah 6:8)?
“What if you got involved?” This is the question Martin Luther King Jr. asked in the speech he gave the night before he was assassinated. He was talking about the reaction of the priest and the Levite compared to the Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho.
So I ask you this morning “What if you got involved?” What if you loved like Christ tells us to in Luke chapter 6? Could anything in our lives or in this world really be the same if we loved like this?