The Golden Rule
by Elaine Pierce
Can you picture Jesus, gathered with his disciples, crowds of people surrounding them, teaching in a way that none of them had ever heard before? Matthew 5 - 7, referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, as Matthew 5 tells us that "he went up on a mountainside and began to teach them." And the last verse of Matthew 7 sums up the crowd's reaction to this teaching: "the crowds were amazed, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teacher of the law."
Today we're focusing on the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, and the well-known "ask, seek, and knock" passage in Matthew 7. For this short blog post, let's zero in on the simple, oft-repeated, but oh so complex, Golden Rule:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
Can't you imagine the Pharisee's reaction to this sermon: How dare he say that this simplistic statement sums up the Law and the Prophets. We have studied the Torah for years and years, and spent our lives dissecting the Holy Scrolls. Certainly the faith is much more complicated than this! How foolish these people are to listen to this itinerant rabbi. He doesn't have our schooling, our sophistication, our training.
I once heard a wise preacher say that the Bible can be summed up by reciting a children's song: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me. These simple statements of faith - the Golden Rule...Jesus loves me...God so loved the world that he gave us only son, that all who believe will have eternal life...God is love - why do we resist them? Yes, of course, our faith deepens and grows as we spend time with Jesus and meditate on his character. Yes, our faith is challenged in times of trouble, and we doubt these simple declarations. Yes, we mature and need more than "baby food" as we learn more about God. But in the end, it comes down to loving Jesus, accepting the gift of eternal life, and recognizing that we can't earn salvation by our works alone. It's Jesus and nothing else.
So when you're tempted - as I am - to think that you have outgrown the Golden Rule, take another look. And thank God for his word, which is rich, deep, and full of truth, joy and love.
Dear Lord, your word is ever new. Help me to take another look at those simple truths and to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with your love, your joy and your peace. Amen.