Self-defense is one of the most automatic of human responses. When challenged, threatened, contradicted, or accused, we blurt out a defense before the voice of criticism has even died away. Often we do not wait so long as that to defend ourselves, but interrupt to counter the word against us before it is even finished.
With so much emphasis in Christendom through the centuries on salvation, it is remarkable that Jesus did not spell out in more detail exactly what salvation is. In his conversation with Nicodemus, in which he said that one must be "born again" to see the kingdom of God, in the single most well-known verse of the Bible, he connects being born again with "belief"; For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
One of the curious anomalies to arise out of the Evangelical and Pentecostal renewal of the late 20th century has been an inordinate obsession with spiritual "signs and wonders" as validating the work of the Holy Spirit. Entire churches, ministries, evangelistic movements, and schools have devoted themselves to the miraculous, and the encouragement of its manifestations to the exclusion of many other aspects of a rounded Christian life of obedience.
There are a variety of Commands that all point in the same direction: Give and expect nothing in return. Some emphasize giving more than has been requested: Go two miles instead of one, when asked for your coat give your cloak as well. The Command before us from Luke 6 contains three messages.
We continue to encounter the strange dichotomy in the Lord's words between public and private righteousness. How do we balance, Beware of practicing your piety before men, with, Let your light so shine before men? The two commands appear less than a chapter apart in the Sermon on the Mount, yet seem to instruct us in completely opposite directions.
Note that Jesus does not directly command Don't be a hypocrite. Is the reason perhaps because, in truth, to a degree we cannot help being hypocrites. We are all sinners, and thus hypocrites, together. It is part of the human condition.
After passing through Galilee and returning home to Capernaum, Jesus posed a very pointed question to the disciples: "What were you discussing on the way?" Their response was that of a group of children caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar. Mark merely says, "They were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest." Jesus had nailed them, and they knew it.
Jesus does not even leave it at Rejoice when you are persecuted and Love and pray for your enemies. He goes further still. The three-tiered progression of response to ill-treatment in Luke 6 is incredible and completely impractical. The program Jesus outlines is impossible by any earthly standards.
As world changing as would be the influence of Christians taking the words seriously, Rejoice and be glad when you are reviled and persecuted (Matthew 5:11-12), Jesus goes on to elevate the relation between Christians and their adversaries to a shockingly ambitious level.