In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus summarizes with this:
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.John 7: 12
This theme seems to run through many religions. Let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences.
Rabbi Hillel, ancient Jewish teacher: “what is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah.”
Buddha taught: “hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful.”
Confucius, teaching the virtue of red: “what one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else.”
From a Hindu text: “one should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality.”
Wiccan code: “if it harms none, do what you want.”
When we take a closer look, we’ll see that what Jesus says requires us to lean in a bit more. Most religious versions emphasize what not to do.
1. Jesus tells us to take the initiative to look for ways to take care of others needs, like we do our own. He invites us to become aware of the needs of others around us to the point where we initiate practical compassion.
We don’t have to agree, but we still need to love.
Love is not just not doin harm. It’s doing good for others, taking the initiative to care, and engaging goodness.
2. Jesus expands the understanding of who we are to love. When he says to treat “others” how you’d like to be treated, he means everyone. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
So, who is your neighbor? Many took this to be their fellow Israelites, but in Luke 10:25-29, we se that our neighbor is now everyone and anyone we have the opportunity to help in ways that add and give life.
3. Jesus says that the golden rule is “what the law and the prophets are all about.” When we read the Bible, if proactive love for others (everybody) is not what we find, then we are reading it wrong.
“Slow don, start again, and keep Jesus in the center of the story until you see love.”Bruxy Cavey
4. The golden rule is not the final answer. Jesus goes on to teach us something even better. Rules only make sense in context. Which side of the road do you drive on? It depends on the laws in the country you are driving, right? This is not another rule, but a paradigm shift.
Jesus lives by a simple, but radical philosophy:
- If love guides our hearts, rules become redundant
- Love, embraced as what guides us to other-centeredness, will always lead us to do the right thing. Love never fails.
- As long as love is guiding your heart, do whatever you want, because whatever you want will be what’s best for everyone involved.
- Where do we see what real love looks like?…Jesus.
Jesus came to end the way of law in favor of the way of love.
But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.
When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.Heb 8: 6-7, 13
The old covenant was never meant to last, but if we just take away the rules, we end up with anarchy. Replace the rules with love and you are beginning to love like Jesus.
You can’t live like Jesus until you love like Jesus. And He would love first!
Such a great message! It’s important to dig into the Word and examine scripture for ourselves and along side others. Begin simply, if you aren’t reading daily, and read a few verses or a chapter a day. This is how a started a few years ago and now it’s just part of my daily routine. It’s not something I have to find time to do because it’s something I do before my day begins. You’ve got to start somewhere.