Love your neighbor (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“You shall love

Your neighbor

As yourself.”

 

καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love.  Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves.  There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love.   Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor.  Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments.  This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.  Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor.  They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor.  They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor.  They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind.  They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice.  They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors.  They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives.  They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves.  All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor.  Do you love your neighbor?

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.

Do not swear (Mt 5:34-5:36)

“But I say to you!

‘Do not swear at all!

Either by heaven,

It is the throne of God,

Or by the earth,

It is his footstool.

Do not swear

By Jerusalem!

It is the city

Of the great king.

Do not swear

By your head!

You cannot

Make one hair

White or black.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως· μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ Θεοῦ·

μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ, ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ· μήτε εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλέως·

μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς, ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν.

 

Matthew has this unique presentation where Jesus has a solemn saying (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) about ending all oaths, which would have been radical for his time.  They were not to swear by anything at all (μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως).  They should not swear by heaven (μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ) since that is the throne of God (ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They should not swear by earth (μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ) since that is the footstool for the feet of God (ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ).  They should not swear by Jerusalem (μήτε εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) since that is the city of the great king (ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλέως).  They should not swear or take an oath by their own head (μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς) since they could not change one hair of their head to black or white (ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν).  This was a blanket statement.  There would be no more taking oaths, no more swearing by anything, anywhere.

 

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:10-4:10)

“Jesus said to the devil.

‘Away with you!

Satan!’

It is written.

‘Worship

The Lord!

Your God!

Serve only him!”

 

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.

 

Just like in Luke, chapter 4:8, the wording is the same, indicating a common source, perhaps Q. Once again, Jesus had a very direct response (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He simply told Satan or the devil to go away (Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ). Then he referred to another scriptural writing (γέγραπται γάρ) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13. This was again a simple statement that you should only worship and serve the Lord your God (γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις). You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις). It looks like the devil would not be successful with any of these temptations. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only.

Judah should watch out also (Hos 4:15-4:15)

“Though you play the prostitute,

O Israel!

Do not let Judah

Become guilty!

Do not enter

Into Gilgal!

Do not go up

To Beth-aven!

Do not swear!

‘As Yahweh lives.’”

Yahweh, via Hosea, told northern Israel that she had become a prostitute. Now he warned that the southern Judah kingdom should not become guilty. They should not go to Gilgal, that was just east of Jericho. Neither should they go to Beth-aven or Bethel, the place of worship of the northern Israelites. They should not swear by Yahweh.

 

The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.

The return to Yahweh (Jer 4:1-4:2)

“‘If you return!

O Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘If you return to me!

If you remove your abominations

From my presence!

If you do not waver!

If you swear!

‘As Yahweh lives!’

In truth,

In justice,

In uprightness,

Then nations shall be blessed

By him.

They shall boast

By him.’”

Would Israel return to Yahweh? Yahweh sets down some conditions. They would have to remove their abomination idol statues from his presence. They would have to not waver. They had to swear that Yahweh lives. If this was done in truth, justice, and uprightness, then the nations would be blessed by him. Then they could boast in Yahweh.