Passage: Matthew 7:12 [NKJV]
Mat 7:12 "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.
If Jesus had stopped (like we often do in quoting it) with just saying "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" then it seems to me that a deeper meaning to this statement would be lost. We should also consider the meaning of the next sentence "This is the ESSENCE of ALL that is taught in the law and the prophets." [emphasis supplied]
Growing up I can remember being told a few variations of this golden rule...
"How would you like it if someone did that to you?"
"Eat your vegetables. Don't you know there are starving children in Africa?"
I have to say they made sense to me. It is pretty basic logic when you consider it. I don't like being treated poorly by other people, stolen from or lied to so shouldn't I consider that before doing one of those things to someone else. When you break it down it is a simple call to "Consider the feelings of others" ...but He doesn't stop there. He then takes it to the next level.
I also don't think that Jesus was stating anything that wasn't fully understood by those He was teaching. They all knew the golden rule. They had probably been taught it since they were little children too. But when Jesus says "This is the ESSENCE of ALL that is taught in the law and the prophets", I think He is asking us to consider all of God's teachings. Is He, in essence, saying...
"If you were to consider God's law or the laws of Moses or any teaching that has been given to you from the prophets, you could boil them down to this one fundamental understanding. Treat people with empathetic love. Treat them with kindness. This is what God has always wanted from you. It is the MAIN thing!"
This is what I like to call Jesus "breakin' it down" for us. He's showing us plain simple truth in something we've been taught almost since birth. He's not weighing it down with cluttered theological definitions of this text or that verse; He's putting them all into this one package, a simple box easy to open.
If this truly is the ESSENCE of ALL that is taught, shouldn't this truth be at the forefront of everything we do? The next time you catch yourself doing something with, for or to someone...take a moment to apply the golden rule...because it really is the essence of it all.
Thank you so much for keeping it simple and forgive us for making it complicated. Though Your love is woven and intricate in all it's glorious and holy faucets it is also simple and can be put into few words. Amazing!
I ask You today Lord to watch over my family friends and loved ones. Keep them all safe. Thank You for all that you supply in my life. I love You. Amen.