The Two Commandments

Dave the Web

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When Jesus was asked which of the Ten Mosaic commandments were the most important, he made the following recorded reply:

Luke 10:27 "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy god with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."

In fact, the subject of loving your neighbour arises originally in the Old Testament of the Jews:

Lev. 19:18 " … love thy neighbour as thyself:"
Prov 11:12 "He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace."
Prov 14:21 "He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth:"
Zec 8:17 "And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour;"

but the subject appears repeatedly throughout the New Testament:

Matt 19:19 "…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matt 22:39 "…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Mark 12:31 "…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Mark 12:33 "…and to love his neighbour as himself … "
Rom 13:9-10 "Love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour."
Gal 5:14 "…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
James 2:8 "…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matt 5:43-44 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you"

The last point is very important because it relates to your enemy being your neighbour, expounded on elsewhere:

Rom 12:14 "Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not"
Matt 6:14-15 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses"
Luke 6:27-29 "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you ... And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other."
Matt 5:39 "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whooever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

If this is so, then the foundationist for all Christendom is not about sins, sinning, or salvation, but about love and compassionate action. The words of Jesus Himself dictate what the foundation for his followers should be. So sad that his words have become mute as Christianity insists on following laws and regulations, creeds and council regulations. I say anyone who calls himself Christian need accept this and this only, as Jesus himself stated: to love God and all.

Everything else becomes irrelevant to the follower of Jesus.
On the one hand, it does look like Jesus is the essential Foundationist! Note how this is a direct form of the "Two Pillars of Wisdom"? :)

However, on a different note, if we take it into a more proper cultural context, the question first to ask is, "who are the enemies of the Jews of the time?" - in which case the answer appears to be, "other Jews". We're not talking Samaritans here, either.

Josephus sets a picture of 1st century Judea heavily factionalised, with bitter and often violent infighting, different groups being funded by the armed robbery of travellers. Josephus, who later commanded troops in Galilee against the Romans, speaks of that area being the most violent of all the places of Judea for this infighting.

So in fact it would be hard for myself to take the quote from Luke as applied in the sense of "Love God and all humanity", as it does appear that Jesus is implicitly calling for an end to the violent factionalism. This is especially taken to task in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus is calling for peace among the Jews - to focus themselves upon YHWH and their common national identity built around YHWH.

However, as a piece of Foundationist idealism I would be happy to take it beyond my interpretation of the immediate cultural context surrounding it. ;)
I much prefer the trancendental nature of applying the quotes to the whole of humanity. After all if Jesus was here for the Gentiles than everyone is everybody else's neighbour. I am always surprised to see some other Christians avoid these quotes entirely so that they may scrabble for little pieces of scripture out of context just to support a war position. Can Jesus and Paul be wrong?
It astonishes me as well, the way people will mine scripture for anything to support their view - no matter how badly out of context it's used.
I find it disappointing that we attempt to determine the meaning of ancient text with today's values rather than with those relevant at the time they were written, In Jesus' day, and as an orthodox Jew, neighbor, was your fellow Jew. It did not include Gentiles or Samaritans (psuedo Jews). It is also unfortunate that our modern idiom has been totally deluded by Paul's facticious theolgy and doctrine. If I may, Brian is aware that I am a 'violent' opponent of Pauline Christianity. I would refer you to this very site and my thesis, The Pauline Conspiracy, which has been posted here by Brian's permission. A critique in opposition this writing would be heartily welcomed.

Victor, do you not think one of the most important features of Christianity is being able to apply the worlds of Jesus to the gentiles, so that everyone is our neighbour? truly there lies amazing wisdom and compassion. Although I bow before those more learned than me and cannot argue against cultural context on the lack of scholarship on my part, is it not equally applicable to apply the words of Jesus beyond any argument for cultural context only? Would this not be a great compassionate Act of God?
I have no problem with anyone and their desire to extend 'the word' to whomever they wish. I was merely commenting on the original context of the teaching. If I may, without seeming presumptuous, Paul's part in extending christianity is miniscule compared to the part that Barnabas played in that extraordinary work. Paul's claims are simply that, empty claims. In the studies that I have attempted, it is agreed by a majority that Barnabas was the true 'workhorse' of the mother church in extending Jesus' teachings to the masses outside the Jewish faith. It is to him that we may offer congradulations for his move of the founding church from Jerusalem to Antioch. That the Living Christ extends himself to ALL who suffer under the yoke of this temperal earth, is a FACT, and ALL are welcome before God in his instruction. I hope this is satisfactory explanation!