Be merciful! (Lk 6:36-6:36)

“Be merciful!

Even as your Father

Is merciful.”

 

Γίνεσθε οἰκτίρμονες, καθὼς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν οἰκτίρμων ἐστίν

 

The result of the kindness of God was that the followers of Jesus should also be merciful (Γίνεσθε οἰκτίρμονες), even as their Father is merciful (καθὼς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν οἰκτίρμων ἐστίν).  Matthew, chapter 5:48, had Jesus say that they should be perfect, like their heavenly Father by loving and greeting everyone.  Only Matthew had this emphasis on perfection, completeness, or maturity, while Luke had Jesus emphasize mercy.  Would you rather be merciful or perfect?

Advertisements

Perfect love (Mt 5:46-5:48)

“If you love those

Who love you,

What reward do you have?

Do not even the tax collectors

Do the same?

If you greet only

Your brothers and sisters,

What more are you doing

Than others?

Do not even the gentiles

Do the same?

Therefore,

Be perfect,

As your heavenly Father

Is perfect.”

 

ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;

καὶ ἐὰν ἀσπάσησθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑμῶν μόνον, τί περισσὸν ποιεῖτε; οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;

Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι ὡς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τέλειός ἐστιν.

 

Once again Matthew and Luke, chapter 6:32-34, are almost the same, perhaps a slightly different use of the Q source.  If you only loved those who loved you (ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς), what kind of reward would you get (τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε)?  Even the Roman tax collectors (οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν) love those who love them.  If you only just greet your brothers (καὶ ἐὰν ἀσπάσησθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑμῶν μόνον), the members of your own family, what is the big deal or so extraordinary (τί περισσὸν ποιεῖτε)?  Even the gentiles or non-Jewish people (οἱ ἐθνικοὶ), since almost all the followers of Jesus were Jewish, did that (οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν).  If they wanted to be perfect (Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι), like their heavenly Father (ὡς ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τέλειός ἐστιν), they had to love and greet everyone.  Only Matthew has this emphasis on perfection, completeness, or maturity (τέλειός).

Righteous power (Wis 12:15-12:18)

“You are righteous.

You rule all things righteously.

It is deemed alien to your power

To condemn anyone

Who does not deserve to be punished.

Your strength is the source of righteousness.

Your sovereignty over all

Causes you to spare all.

You show your strength

When people doubt

The completeness of your power.

You rebuke any insolence

Among those who know it.

Although you are sovereign in strength,

You judge with mildness.

You govern us

With great forbearance.

You have power to act

Whenever you choose.”

God is righteous (δίκαιος) and strongly rules righteously. Thus he punishes everyone who deserves it. His strength is the source of his righteousness (ἰσχύς σου δικαιοσύνης ἀρχή). Because he has power over all, he is able to spare some people. Some see this as a weakness, but it only shows the completeness of his power. God judges with mildness and forbearance, even though he has the power to act whenever he wants to.