Luke 6:32, 34 ~ Mt 5:46-47
This is from the end of the second part of the Lukan Sermon.
IQP. If you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same?  And if you [lend < to those.> from whom you hope to receive, what <reward do> you have?] Do not even [the Gentiles] do the same?
- Mt 5:46-47 (ASV): For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? Do not even the Gentiles the same?
- Lk 6:32 (ASV): And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? For even sinners love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? For even sinners do the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much.
Comment. The IQP heading "impartial love" may remind us of the cardinal Mician principle of loving all men equally ("impartial love" would be a very accurate translation of the Chinese "jyen ai"). See the previous passage for an ethical rule which is also associated with the Micians (and note that only Luke juxtaposes these two sayings; in Matthew, they have been separated). But the real point of this saying is uncompensated rather than undifferentiated good action. The theory of this passage is this: If a good action is recognized or rewarded or reciprocated in this life, it loses value as acquiring merit in the next life. This goes far beyond the Mician concept (which has no supernatural dimension at all), but is clearly articulated in the Lukan Woes (Lk 6:24-26), which are absent in Matthew. Beyond the first clause, Mt and Lk simply differ. Mt is concerned with social courtesies, whereas Lk is expounding a radical ethics of poverty. It is generally the case that Matthew preaches to the affluent, whereas Luke sympathizes with the poor, so there is no directionality indication in this contrast as such; whichever version one starts with, one could imagine the other Evangelists revising it in his preferred direction. It will thus be better to defer, for a judgement of directionality, to associated passages which have clearer indications of directionality.
Authenticity. This special interpretation of the mechanics of alms giving and analogous actions goes beyond anything that may be inferred about Jesus's thought in Mark (though the beginnings of opposition to wealth as such may be detected in the late layers of Mark). It thus probably belongs to a later development, and was not a saying of the Historical Jesus.
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