Flipping the Law

Do to others what you would have them do to you. - Luke 6:31
Love your neighbor as yourself. - Mark 12:31

Listen in to the wisdom of these authors as they help us understand how radically Jesus altered what people in his generation thought about how to treat others. Then ask yourself what it might look like to become more like Him today.

While others worked on defining the boundaries, Jesus took the opposite approach. Instead of focusing on minimums, he focused on maximums, speaking about the ultimate aims of the law.  

Case in point: compare the way Rabbi Hillel summarized the Torah to the way Jesus summarized it forty years later.  One day, an impatient Gentile asked Hillel to explain the entire Torah while standing on one foot.  Hillel’s response was brilliant: “Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.  This is the whole Torah and the rest is commentary.  Go and learn it” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a).

Hillel clearly summarized the law.  Indeed, you could even repeat his formulation while standing on one foot!  Those who followed this teaching could achieve a minimum standard of conduct, keeping them safely within the boundaries of the Torah.

But listen to Jesus’ answer.  He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  By flipping Hillel’s formulation, Jesus compels us to focus on the maximum, point out the goal of following god’s will.  The difference between Hillel’s approach and Jesus’ seems subtle, but it is revolutionary.  Most of us can find it in our power to avoid being hateful.  But how hard it can be to love our neighbors as ourselves!
— - Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg
City Church Long BeachComment