Conflict doesn’t always mean we have to fight against something and tear it apart. Conflict can also mean we’re fighting for something to make it even better and stronger than it’s ever been. —Lysa TerKeurst
Exactly how does Jesus love our enemies through us?
Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever…
And since Jesus indwells believers at the moment of conversion…
Then as we surrender to Him, He will express Himself through us.
As He expresses Himself through us, our lives now will look very much like His life did then. And Jesus’ life was full of loving His enemies.
Let’s take a look at one epic scene of Jesus loving His enemies. In Luke 23:33-34, Jesus came to the place called the Skull. He was to be crucified there alongside criminals. But before He died, He prayed, “Father, forgive them….”
Using our checklist from yesterday, let’s define the “them” Jesus prayed for in His last moments:
- They wished evil on Jesus.
- They insulted Jesus.
- They physically assaulted Jesus.
- And they robbed Him of His life.
I believe this covers all the bases for enemy status according to Scripture. And yet Jesus shows His love by interceding for them with the Father.
This same Jesus rose again from the dead and now, by His Spirit, indwells us if we are believers. So guess what? He can love this way through us, too.
We see this principle in action in the book of Acts, as the Holy Spirit works through Stephen, Christianity’s first recorded martyr. Stephen’s preaching landed him in trouble, and an angry mob decided to stone him. As men were pelting Stephen with large stones, he began to pray, “Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit.” Sound familiar? And also, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59-60).
Because Jesus’ Spirit lived in Stephen, Stephen was able to love those who were cruel to him. The same principle is true for us today, too.
Lord, I don’t see only love in Scripture. I see a bold love that comes from living in Your Spirit. I am eager to know what it looks like as it’s expressed in my own life. Will You cultivate this sort of bold love in me? Speak powerfully and lovingly through me, even in the hardest conflict. Amen.
Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?