“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
I realize I may have already lost you with our opening scripture. Perfect is a far too potent word. We’re comfortable using it to describe our Savior and what awaits us in heaven, but we certainly don’t want to apply it to us in the here and now.
And yet, the words before us emerged from Jesus’ lips during His Sermon on the Mount.
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48, emphasis mine
Yep. Jesus said it. Right after He instructed us to love our enemies.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. … For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5:43-46, emphasis mine
According to Jesus, anyone can love those who love in return. Sons and daughters of God, however, will also love their enemies. And not just love them, but advocate for them through prayer. Then He sums up His teaching with a charge to be perfect, in the same way that our heavenly Father is perfect.
That’s a pretty tall order, don’t you think? Jesus couldn’t possibly have meant perfect. After all, perfection is impossible, an unattainable goal.
Perhaps this is a good time to ponder another of Jesus’ statements.
“All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
Beloved, what we find impossible, Jesus makes possible.
And He commands us to love perfectly—not just our friends, but our […]