This is a tough question. Sure I love the people that live in my court, but I think Jesus was thinking of a bigger picture than that. I believe he is asking us if we love those we know, those we come in contact with, those we see on a regular basis, and that is tough.
I think when Jesus said love your neighbor as you love yourself, he meant something more…
Let’s look at the Scriptures then the Scriptural Context:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ [Deut 6:5] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Lev 19:18] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
1. Incredible Context of Loving Your Neighbor
My main concern today in this text is the commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself”or in other translations, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But also I think it is important to note the stupendous surroundings around our main verse. We would be fools to plunge into it without pondering these surroundings.
The Great and Foremost Commandment (vv. 37-38)
The two stupendous things I have in mind are, first, the greatest commandment in the Word of God. In verse 36 a Pharisee asks Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus answers by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5,
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’
Then he adds his own words to put the commandment even higher than the question required. The question was, “Which is the great commandment?” and Jesus says, “This is the first and greatest commandment.”
So the first stupendous thing surrounding the commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself is the commandment to love God as the greatest and foremost thing that is in the entire Word of God. The greatest and most important thing you can do is love God—love your GOD—is the heart of the entire Word of God.
The Summary of the Old Testament (v. 40)
The other stupendous thing surrounding the command to love your neighbor as you love yourself is what follows in verse 40,
‘The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’
The Entire OT depends (or ‘hangs’) on these two commandments: the commandments: to love our God and the commandment to love our neighbor.
This is an amazing statement. We have the authority of the Son of God here telling us something utterly stupendous about the origin and design of the entire plan and Word of God.
ii. Matthew 7:12: Taught in the Law and the Prophets,
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
…So loving others is the outward manifestation, the visible expression, the practical demonstration, and therefore the fulfillment of what the Old Testament is about.
iii. Romans 13:8–10: Love of Neighbor Fulfills the Law
8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love
one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
…Two times Paul says that the command to love our neighbor is the ‘fulfilling of the law.’
II. Overwhelming Command to Neighbor Love (v.39)
Let me show you a video that in one way shows how we might consider loving our neighbors as ourselves…PLAY VIDEO!
It is an absolutely staggering commandment.
2. If this is what it means, then something unbelievably powerful and earthshaking and reconstructing and overturning and upending will have to happen in our souls. Something supernatural.
3. Something well beyond what self-preserving, self-enhancing, self-exalting, self-esteeming, self-advancing human beings like Steve With (your name here) do with our faith.
III. POWERFUL WORDS FROM JESUS
Let’s start with verse 39. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
1. Consider the Fact that Jesus said This, He didn’t have to say, verse 39: “A second…” The Pharsess in verses 34-36 ask the Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
They were looking for one answer and Jesus gave them two. One Command that is most important and Jesus gave them another
2. The Calculated Value, “is equally important” Loving God is = with loving others? Crazy thought the word ‘equal’ in the original language is ‘homoios autos.” It is like unto it or of the same kind. ‘It is the same or equal’ in English. It has the same weight on the scale. Loving God is just as important as loving your neighbor.
That’s enough to raise the stakes here almost as high as they can be raised. We have the greatest commandment in all the revelation of God to humanity (Love God); and we have the second greatest, which is like unto or equal to the greatest (Love your neighbor).
3. A Comparative Statement: “as yourself”
Which means: As you have long for food when you are hungry, so long to feed your neighbor when he is hungry. As you long for nice clothes for yourself, so long for nice clothes for your neighbor…etc.
How do you pursue your own well-being? Pursue your neighbor’s well-being that way too. That’s enough to raise the stakes here almost as high as they can be raised. We have the greatest commandment in all the revelation of God to humanity (Love God); and we have the second greatest, which is like the greatest (Love your neighbor).
V. God’s Word for Us This Morning
? I believe it would not be too much to say that all of creation, all of redemption, all of history hang on these two great purposes—that humans love God with all our heart, and that from the overflow of that love we love each other.
Which means that ? Love is the origin (Matthew 22:40) and the goal (Romans 13:8, 10) of the Law and the Prophets. It is the beginning and the end of why God inspired the Bible.
? God’s Word to us is that we need to let this picture stun us and remake our priorities. That we get alone with him and deal with him about these things. That we not assume that we fully know what love is or that it has the proper centrality in our lives. He is saying: All of Scripture, all of his plans for history, hang—HANG—on these two great purposes: that He be loved with all our heart, and that we love each other as we love ourselves. Whether it is with our neighbor next door, our neighbor at work, our neighbor who is homeless or our neighbor here at Impact. We are called by Jesus to love others as we love ourselves.
Reading this week:
M – Mat 22 W – Deut 6 F – Mat 7
T – Luk 10 T – Lev 19:18 S – Rom 13