Theme of the Week: Prayer
Bible Verse: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. Luke 23:34
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:38-48
I was reflecting on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount recently when the Holy Spirit showed me a truth I had never seen before: everything Jesus commanded, He practiced himself. Of course, that makes sense, but I had never put the pieces together.
In Matthew 5:39, for example, Jesus said not to resist an evil person but instead to turn the other cheek. Jesus himself practiced this when he was slapped by one of the high priest’s officials. ‘If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?’” (John 18:22-23).
In Matthew 5:41, Jesus said that if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Jesus himself practiced this when he carried his own cross toward the place he would be crucified. “Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha)” (John 19:17).
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Jesus himself practiced this when he prayed for the soldiers who crucified him. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
It should not surprise us that the Son of God perfectly practiced what he preached. Not only did He tell us how to be perfect like God (Matthew 5:48), He showed us how by doing it Himself.
This has an important implication for how we should pray. In addition to praying for ourselves and our loved ones, we should pray for those who frustrate, anger, or maybe even persecute us! If Jesus can pray for the soldiers who crucified him, surely we can pray, by the help of the Holy Spirit, for those who cut us off in traffic, for example! Instead of resisting an evil person, we can pray for them. In so doing, we will experience God’s peace and will reveal ourselves to be children of our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:45).
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to follow Jesus by praying for my enemies.
Reflection: How has the Holy Spirit been transforming you to be more like Jesus?
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