On a plain, Jesus gives the command: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…. and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”
Between a rock and hard place, we whittle at the command: some enemies might be too adversarial to love, haters too vindictive to accept goodness, attackers too threatening to bless with strength which could turn against us, abusers and pilferers too undeserving for prayers of love, goodness, or blessing. Only splinters remaining, we are relieved of obligation for anything identifiably love.
On a hill, Jesus lives the command: “there they crucified him…. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments.”
Enemies take by force what Jesus gives them freely. Not: enemies take by force what Jesus would have given them freely. Jesus freely gives cloak and tunic, forgiveness’ prayer, and redemption’s price to the very people who at that moment are taking everything they can by force. That moment is not obedience’s overflow, but the full cup.
The command is not reserved for exceptional believers under ordinary circumstances, but for ordinary believers in every circumstance: Stephen in Jerusalem, Ananias in Damascus, Barry in Dallas. (D’oh! My discipleship should be killing me, but the Gospel of Luke is having to help—a lot.)
To a week loving, blessing, and serving more like Jesus.