Re:Verse reading—Luke 6:17-45 (day seven)
The great 18th century Methodist leader John Wesley wrote A Plain Account of Christian Perfection arguing that Jesus truly meant Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” Or if you take our Lukan passage, “be merciful, just as your father is merciful.” Wesley ruffled a lot of feathers when he claimed that we should certainly strive every day to be as perfect or merciful as God is. Who can do such a thing as that?
Anyone trusting the Holy Spirit can do such a thing as that. As we allow the Holy Spirit to shape our attitudes we will live out Jesus’s sermon. Our problem with this passage is not inability its unwillingness. We want to reserve our love for people who deserve it when Scripture urges just the opposite. Wesley points us to 1 Corinthians 13, a passage we relegate to weddings, as our actual behavioral standard. We can do it, by the power of the Holy Spirit we can fully live out Luke 6, Matthew 5, and 1 Corinthians 13 in all of our relationships.