Matthew 5:43–48

As we come to the end of this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus brings us into the heart of His Kingdom vision. The people of His Kingdom are to be marked by a radical love that extends even to their enemies. The Law of Moses had called the Israelites to love their neighbors, but there was a lot of debate swirling around about who actually counts as a “neighbor.” Most of the Jewish rabbis agreed that this was a call to love fellow Israelites, especially the vulnerable. But nobody was teaching that they should love people like the Romans soldiers who maintained an oppressive presence in their society. Nobody would have imagined that this call to love would have included people like the tax collectors who had sold out to the Roman empire. Nobody was teaching them to love the Samaritans who had fought against the Jews in recent wars. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus says. His Kingdom is to be marked by a deep and sacrificial love, not merely for those who are good to you, but even for those whom you would consider enemies. When you display this kind of love, you represent the love of your Father in heaven who blesses both the righteous and the unrighteous. And this is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came while we were sinners, indeed, while we were enemies. Christ died for us as a transformative demonstration of the love of our Father in Heaven. At its core, the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of love.