How do we sum up the law and the prophets of the Old Testament?
Jesus is beginning to wrap up his Manifesto (aka the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7). 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”.
“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.” ~ JesusSource: Matthew 7:12-14 (ESV)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!Source: Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)
Jesus continues the lessons from His Manifest (Matthew 5-7)
God, my heavenly Father, is more than ready. God is not a grumpy old man who doesn’t care. God is our example of what love is all about. If it is in my best interests, God will do it.
God is in a good mood. God is like our parents. God wants the best for us. I’ve always given my kids what I could. You are the same way. This rings true and we know what it means.
This Jesus saying is a part of what I call the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7) aka the Sermon on the Mount. It eats at the religious life myth of leading a good life.
Jesus warns us that it won’t be easy. Jesus is pulling no punches here. It will be hard.
For example, it may be easy to not commit adultery. It will be hard not to lust. Few are actually going to find God. Most Christians won’t.
I didn’t know how tough it would be. May I be one of the few. May you be one of the few.
Jesus can be very straightforward and direct.
His suggestion on criticizing and judging others is to not do it if we have the same problem ourselves. Period. End of story. No other advice. In other places He elaborates why but the reason here is pretty compelling.
The issue, however, is not about judging but about hypocrisy. How can we judge if we have the same challenge in our lives? Jesus is clear, we can’t.
We need to focus on our own issues and heart, not others.
Judge not, that you be not judged. —Matthew 7:1
Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, “Don’t.” The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding.
It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood.Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others.Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical.
This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5).
Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation.
The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.
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