27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
If you want to read about the power of the Holy Spirit, read the Gospel according to Luke and Luke's second volume, the Book of Acts. If you want to understand the role of the Holy Spirit and Jesus, again read Luke. If you want to understand the role of the Holy Spirit and the Early Church, read Acts.
It might appear that when we consider the Holy Spirit that it's All About Power. But a closer reading of both Luke and Acts reveals that the Holy Spirit is also about Love. Or, we might say, Ethics -- About How We Live.
In the passage above, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, those who belong to God's Kingdom. Jesus is indoctrinating them into Kingdom Ethics. The Kingdom of God comes in power through the Spirit in the name of Jesus. The Kingdom of God also comes in the power of love, through the Spirit, in the name of Jesus.
How disciples live in the midst of friends and enemies is just as important as healing the sick and casting out demons and preaching the good news of Jesus.
Nowadays, given the variety of different Christian traditions and movements, we tend to associate Power with Charismatics and Pentecostals and Love with Mainline Denominations. In (biblical) reality, such association is a faulty distinction. Just as Jesus was not divided in his power and love, the Church is not be divided in her power and love. The truth of the matter is that we are called to live fully in the charismatic power of the Spirit as well as to live fully in the agapic love of the Spirit.
We cast out demons and love our enemies. We show no mercy to sin and unclean spirits while at the same time we show mercy to sinners and those held in bondage to sin and demons. As the Father is merciful, we are called to be merciful, in imitation of the Father.
Let us grow both in power and love!
Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for the reality of your Kingdom because of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit. We have experienced your power and authority. Help us to experience more profoundly both the Spirit's power and love, especially as we love our friends and even our enemies, which is more than anything the sign that we belong to the Kingdom of God. May the Ethics of Your Kingdom defined how we live, full of grace and generosity, full of gentleness and mercy. Help us to live this way today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.