In every culture there are unwritten rules or guidelines for manners or etiquette. The kinds of behavior that are acceptable and pleasing in one place can be thought of as inconsiderate or certainly rude in another place. Nowhere in our country is belching loudly after a fine dinner thought to be a sign of having had a very delicious or satisfying meal, but in some countries this would be a widely approved action. In some places smiling at everyone is a sign of friendliness and congeniality, while in other cultures excessive smiling is viewed as a sign of weakness. When you think about the enormously different “laws” for permissible or wise behavior which exist around the world, it is absolutely amazing that God could have spoken commandments that are applicable to everyone, everywhere, and always.
After God gave those Ten Commandments to Moses, He emphasized that His desire for them was “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” When Jesus came, He often reminded the Israelites that He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it – to enhance it and to make it complete. So when the religious leaders tried to trap Him and to find evidence that they could use against Him, what did He do? He clearly put their concerns into a new and irrefutable perspective. He helped them to understand that His very highest calling was for them to love the Lord, their God, and to love each other. Was it a new commandment really or was it a much higher and greater challenge because of the kind love that He was demonstrating through His life, the kind of love that He would soon show to them through His death and resurrection?
Was Jesus reiterating this commandment so that men and women could earn their salvation or merit God’s favor? Certainly not! Was He asking them to consider this because it was the high calling that they would have as beloved and forgiven children of God and as representatives of the kingdom of heaven? What would your answer be?