So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. -Matthew 7:12
Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.
The weight of the Law and the Prophets is found in those few, weighty words of Jesus.
The Weightiness of Action, not Abstinence
Feel the weight of Jesus’ words. As Pastor Mike shared on Sunday, Jesus calls me to take positive action, not negative abstinence toward, “others”. There is no condition laid, no asterisk providing me with exceptions.
Moreso, I cannot simply avoid doing negative things to others. If this were the case, I would fulfill the law by my absence from the lives of others. “Follow Jesus and leave well-enough alone,” would be the clarion call of the Christian life.
Rather, the Golden Rule is a call to action. Ask yourself, as Pastor Mike applied the text, “How do I want to be treated, for real?” Consider all the wishes and desires we have for ourselves. Now, take action! Do unto others.
He calls for action, not simple abstinence.
Weighty Words of the Law and Prophets
Depending on the version and the language of the Bible you read each morning, there are over 700,000 words in the Old Testament alone. The Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and The Prophets (of Jesus’ day*) account for well over half of the Old Testament’s words.
Yet, Jesus says that, “...everything (whatever it may be) that you wish others would do to you, you also do to them…” is a fulfillment of The Law and The Prophets, over 400,000 words.
How can this be?
As Pastor Mike shared, a zoomed out view of all the Old Testament is a testimony to the truth of Jesus’ words. First, the Word reveals that all creation (including me) is under and governed by, with intimate planning and purpose, the holy God. The next conclusion from the Word is that His expectation of me is, in summary, to do unto others whatever I desire that others would do to me. There is no living in a vacuum with me and God (and my thoughts). All of life is part of his plan, including the vast scope of humanity. This means that service to God must involve people.
Thus, the seemingly simple words of Jesus are the condensed, immense weight of thousands and thousands of words, hundreds of commands and call to action.
Jesus, Weighty Word Giver and Weighty Law Fulfiller
As I feel the weight of Jesus’ commands, I remember his comforting reminder.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. -Matthew 5:17-18
Jesus does not lighten the weight of The Law and the Prophets. He brings out the reality of how weighty they are.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. -Matthew 5:27-28
Yet, He is law-fulfiller, burden bearer, punishment receiver, Lord of lords, King of kings. Where can we turn for hope? All I see is His open arms!
Jesus, be all that I am not. I am not. Be all!
*The Old Testament books in your Christian Bible are ordered slightly differently from the Hebrew. The Christian Old Testament order consists of the Pentateuch, historical books (Joshua-Chronicles), poetry (Job-Song of Solomon), and prophets. The Hebrew sorts them into three sections, The Law, The Prophets (Joshua-Kings (minus Ruth), Major and Minor Prophets (minus Daniel), and The Writings (Chronicles-Esther, Poetry books (Job-Song of Solomon and Lamentations), Ruth, and Daniel (Note, the books are not ordered this way)).
So, when Jesus mentioned The Law and The Prophets, He likely was referring to:
That is a lot of words! Note: The word numbering was sourced from the below site. This citation is not an endorsement of the site, however, I do believe they accurately provided the above data and need to be mentioned. https://holyword.church/miscellaneous-resources/how-many-words-in-each-book-of-the-bible/