We are studying Luke 6:27-36 for Sunday, October 11. This is a portion of a longer teaching text in Luke’s gospel that has come to be known as the “Sermon on the Plain.” [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider or perhaps discuss in class:
Jesus tells his hearers “love your enemies” – that is, those who are hostile to you or seeking to harm you. Assuming this instruction is addressed to us as well as to Jesus’s immediate audience, what specifically, concretely, do we understand this to mean? That is, what specific, concrete behavior does this require of us? [It might be a good idea to think of some examples.]
Is “loving your enemies” the same thing as “doing what they want you to do”? Why, or why not? What’s the difference?
Another way to ask this: Is there anything loving our enemies does not require of us? What? Why do we say this?
Of the specific instructions Jesus gives in verses 27-30, which are easiest for us personally to follow? Why? Which are hardest? Why?
In verses 32-34, Jesus literally uses the term “grace,” saying something like “what grace is that?” Do we sense any difference between saying “what credit is that to you” and “what grace is that”? What difference? Why?
Should we be trying to extend grace [“unmerited favor,” in its classical definition] to others? Why is that?
Are there limits to how gracious we need to be? If so, what are they? What makes us say this, and where do find that supported by the text?
What is our relationship to Jesus’s instructions? For instance, what would we compare them to: orders at work? Laws? Requests from our spouse? Something else? [In other words: how imperative do we understand these instructions to be, how urgent do we feel it is to follow them … and why is that?]
[More personal] What efforts have we ourselves made to put these instructions into practice? What specific things have we done? What has helped the most? How do we feel we’re doing?