Love vs. “Tell Me the Rules So I can Get the Prize”

Judas Greeting Christ with the Kiss of Peace

And the Lord Jesus said, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”   

(Luke 6:31-36)

 “Are Jesus’ imperatives rules?    Jesus refused repeatedly to play the familiar game of ‘tell me the rules to get the prize.’  He rejected calculation.  Even in  commanding love of neighbor and enemy, he specified no particular behaviors:  ‘Jesus nowhere prescribes regular church attendance or the tithe.  He did not issue detailed instructions on sexual morality for his followers or whether they should wine or dance.  He does tell them that they are to love their enemies.’”  … “The Pharisees… used a strategy of exclusion with their stress upon separating the pure from the impure and thereby ‘created divisions within society.’  Jesus, on the other hand… insisted that his ‘counter-cultural politics of compassion’ required ‘internal transformation,’ a spiritual revitalization that expressed itself by including the poor, the outcasts, and women.  Rather than divide the people, Jesus called people to ‘an alternative community with an alternative consciousness’ and to peace through loving their enemies.”  (Charles Melchert, WISE TEACHING, pp 233, 236)