For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Matthew 5:46
The story of the tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), along with tax collectors frequently being mentioned in the same breath as “sinners” in the Gospels, gives a clear indication of their despised role in first-century Jerusalem. They were Jews, agents of Rome, who made a good living by overcharging their fellow Jews for their taxes.
Jesus mentioned in His exhortation not to love only those who love you in return—like the tax collectors do. But wait: Who loved tax collectors that they loved in return? Perhaps their mothers and other tax collectors, as one commentator has wryly observed. Jesus’ point: Even tax collectors love those who love them, and we should do better. We should love those who don’t love us. Jesus wasn’t referring to enemies or those who actively hate us. It just means we should love even those with whom we have no special relationship.
Think of acquaintances in your life who don’t necessarily love you—a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, a stranger. Take the leap and love them with an act of kindness, generosity, or service during the coming week.
Man’s greatest sin is not hatred, but indifference to one’s brothers. Mother Teresa
What Do You More Than Others? Matthew 5:46-48 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study