Loving God and Neighbor
Text: Leviticus 19
When asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? (Mt. 22:36) Jesus answered with two Scripture quotations: Deuteronomy 6:5, and Leviticus 19:18. Then he summed up by saying, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Mt. 22:40) During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus summed up his teaching by saying, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt. 7:12)
Leviticus 19 begins by saying, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) Much of what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount can be related to what the Lord spoke to Moses in Leviticus 19. This entire chapter is about loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might; and loving your neighbor as yourself.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” (Rom. 13:8) People who worship Idols do not love the God who created them but love a God of there own fashion. The Lord is God and he brought each and everyone of us into the world through the union of a mother and father; therefore, we should have reverence for them, because doing so, is loving the God who created us. Our parents may of treated some of us wrongly, but we should understand that revering our parents is honoring the God who gave us life.
Some of the precepts in this chapter might seem strange in a twenty first century western context, but when you put them into an ancient Hebrew context, every precept in this text is about loving your creator with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your might; and loving your neighbor as yourself. It should also be understood that our neighbors are not just those who are like us, but those who we have contact with that differ from us. (Lev. 19:33-34)