All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” Matthew 22:40
For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” Galatians 5:14
I have always found it fascinating how Jesus taught about the Law. The Law was the guiding star of the Old Testament Hebrew nation, and the strictest observers of it in Jesus’ time were the Pharisees. They were more than meticulous in observing every possible law given by Moses. Those laws then acquired “extra baggage” over the years when scholars and priests refined those laws and went into agonizing detail about how to fulfill them. More to the point, they went to great lengths to find ways to restrict the daily lives of Jews by making sure that no law would be broken.
The irony, of course, is that such adherence was not possible. I’m sure that most of these scholars and priests, Pharisees, and teachers of the Law had good intentions. They wanted to make very certain that they were doing what God wanted, and that they were leading people to holy lives.
But they missed the boat.
When Jesus came teaching, he assured people that he did not come to abolish the Law. He said,
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come—it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true.”
What did he mean by that? He meant that the whole law, the intent of the law, was to bring people into peace with God and their fellow human beings. If one truly loves God, as well as him/herself, you do not need a law that says “Don’t rob, cheat, steal, harm, demean, defraud, covet, or do any other hostile actions toward others. If one truly loves God and neighbor, those laws are already fulfilled.
I am not casting blame on the Jewish scholars who went overboard in their zeal to try to please God. They just missed the point of the Law. Actually, we do the same things too often times, don’t we?
Prayer: Forgive us for our short-sighted views, and help us to see the real point of your laws for us, Amen