Luke 6:27-28 ~ Mt 5:43-44
Love Your Enemies
Having, with IQP, skipped the Woes which follow the Beatitudes in Luke (but are not in Matthew), we come to the next part of the Sermon:
IQP. Love your enemies  and pray for those [persecuting] you.
- Mt 5:43 (ASV): Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you,  that ye may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.
- Lk 6:27 (ASV): But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,  bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.
Comment. The parallel is much compromised by variations. Lk continues in 6:27 to give counterintuitive advice along the lines of the common saying itself. Matthew instead explains the moral logic of the commandment: we are to imitate the impartiality of God, and so become Sons of God. This is not the scenario envisioned in Luke, who explains in 6:33, "And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? For even sinners do the same." (This passage will be considered a little later). This is an aspect of the curious reversal logic which (as some commentators have noted) pervades the Lukan Sermon. In Matthew, the precept is given a more conventionally pious interpretation. The implication is Lk > Mt.
Authenticity. Subjectively, there is no reason why Jesus might not have held this opinion. But our only objective test for historicity is occurrence in Mark, particularly in the earlier layers of Mark, and there seems to be no trace in Mark of the distinctive reversal logic of the Lukan version of the saying. Additionally, the saying would be more appropiate in times of at least some degree of persecution, and it is somewhat more likely that this situation arose after the death of Jesus, when the Jesus community was existing on its own, and not getting on well with its neighbors. To that extent, this is unlikely to be a saying of Jesus. It is rather an anticipative church-guidance saying.
12 May 2011 / Contact The Project / Exit to Alpha Page