5.43 Ēkousate hoti errethē: agapēseis ton plēsion sou kai misēseis ton echthron sou. 5.44 egō de legō humīn: agapāte tous echthrous humōn * kai proseuchesthe huper tōn * diōkontōn humās; 5.45 hopōs genēsthe huioi tou patros humōn tou en ouranois, hoti ton hēlion autou anatellei epi ponērous kai agathous kai brechei epi dikaious kai adikous. 5.46 eān gar agapēsēte tous agapōntas humās, tina misthon echete; ouchi kai hoi telōnai to auto poiousin; 5.47 kai eān aspasēsthe tous adelphous humōn monon, ti perisson poieite; ouchi kai hoi ethnikoi to auto poiousin;
5.48 Esesthe oun humeis teleioi hōs ho patēr humōn ho ouranios teleios estin.
5.43 You heard that it was said: love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 5.44 But I say to you: love your enemies * and pray for * the ones harassing you; 5.45 so that you may become sons of your father in heaven, because he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he rains on the just and unjust. 5.46 For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax-collectors do the same? 5.47 And if you greet your brothers only, in what way do you excel? Do not even the gentiles do as much?
5.48 Therefore be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.
There is a slight change of person between verse 43 and 44, what one might expect to find when a verse in the singular is being quoted, then commented on to group in the plural.
Verse 44 often contains text like, “bless those who curse you, do good to those that hate you…falsely accuse you and…,” which is found in some late Greek manuscripts. Without taking up any discussions of textual criticism, etc., I have not included this phrase as I am following Nestle in my interlinear. I referenced the manuscript note in Nestle and proceeded to blueletterbible.com where I found the variant Greek text for review. I see no difference in meaning based on inclusion or removal of the text. Love is to be shown to all. Not to mention that the phrase, “hate your enemy,” is not found as part of the command to, “love your neighbor.” Its addition to regular thought about the law was a mishandling of God’s heart in the matter.
Verse 45 is a wonderful example of the use of substantive adjectives: evil [men], good [men], just [men] and unjust [men]. It also uses an aorist subjunctive after a pair of present imperatives indicating, “so that you may.” This would be a purpose clause in primary sequence. In my translation above I chose “become” rather than “be” to follow the idea of simple aspect conveyed by the aorist subjunctive. Becoming a son indicates family resemblance and intimacy. We will share in the inheritance of our Father’s kingdom, and this is confirmed by the way we love. For love is the telling mark of our being his children.
5:46 and 47 further illustrate Jesus’ message that his followers must go far beyond the rules of the Pharisees, to a changed heart and outlook. They cannot simply act as usual. They must go out of their way to love everyone, from those who are intimate friends to those who actively oppose, mistreat and annoy from a heart of hate and malice.
Our example is God himself, who is perfect – complete. His love lacks nothing. His interest and concern for his creation, every man and woman, is not a sham or nice argument. It is a reality that we can see and emulate, if we follow the love we feel God place in our hearts.