Jesus once was asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus responded, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40.
Notice that illuminating statement: “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets.” The entire Old Testament Bible (The books of the Law and the Prophets), Jesus said, can actually be summarized in two essential commandments:
1. Love for God
2. Love for neighbor
Behind the complete system of Old Testament Law (all 613 commandments that Orthodox Judaism teaches you should follow) there “hangs” these two great, eternal, unchanging laws of God for us to keep in sight. The entire system of Law given through Moses and the Prophets was simply a detailed application and outworking of these two great and overarching (dominating or embracing all other) commandments. For the person who loves God and neighbor will not commit the sins of idolatry, defiling the Sabbath, dishonoring their mother and father, murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, covetousness, and any of the other moral commandments contained in the Old Testament. By implication, this would also include any commandments in the New Testament as well.
The principle purpose of the Law was to produce the supreme character of love in us – love for God and love for others. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14.
– Luis Yosefus
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