“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” ~ Jesus | Source: Matthew 7:12-14 (ESV)
Jesus is beginning to wrap up his Manifesto (aka the Sermon on the Mount). Jesus now lays out for us the summary of all summaries. Jesus says “this is the Law and the Prophets”. Jesus gives it to us at the highest level. This is what is known as the “30,000 foot view”. It is also traditionally known as the “Golden Rule”.
What is the main thing about the main thing? Jesus challenges me to act / treat others in a way that is consistent with how I want to be treated. That is pretty clear. That is very tough to do some days. It is all about how I treat others. There are hundreds of examples of how this would play out.
Is this tough to do? Yes! Jesus alerts me that not many people go this direction. It is a “narrow gate”, “the way is hard” and “those who find it are few”.
Why is this so tough? I know I don’t tend to start with the “end in mind”. Jesus is good enough to make it clear. I need to consistently ask, “How do I want to be treated”. Then I can act on it. I can’t act if I don’t know what the goal is for this particular circumstance.
How do I know how to love? This the real deal of how I can know how to love. It is all about love but this is the way I will know what love looks like right now. In the “Sermon on the Plain” (Luke 6), Jesus places this same idea in the middle of a long discussion about love.
Matthew 22:39–40 (NASB) — 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Romans 13:8–9 (NASB) — 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 (NASB) — 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
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Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱέ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν