So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Ah yes, the “Golden Rule”; everyone knows this one…
The main body of the Sermon on the Mount runs from 5:17 through 7:11, and is summed up here in verse 12 with the “rule” that fulfills all of “the Law and the Prophets”. Who can argue with it?
Yet for us to really understand what Jesus said here, we must recognize that it is much more than a summation; it is a radical call for every man and woman to turn upside down the way we view everything. If we really stop to consider the ramifications of this… wow! Oh yes, dear friends, it is a very simple and straightforward notion; treat everyone the way you want to be treated, you were probably taught this from early childhood… but who really does it?
Oh well, I treat my friends that way; but what about those other people, those who aren’t “nice”?
“Well, obviously that’s different.”
Did Jesus say that? I don’t see it, do you?
If I am having a bad day, I would like you to be understanding and be nice anyway, but when you’re having a bad day, I think I can be a jerk right back.
When I need a helping hand, I want you to help me out, but when you need a hand, I must check my schedule; I might be too busy.
I’m guessing you get the idea…
This verse is a radical statement about putting love into action, and it isn’t worded as though it were a suggestion. This is how people were to recognize the Kingdom of Heaven when they saw it; its people were to be quite different from everyone else, in fact, it is the very definition of being “like Christ” which, it may interest you to know, is the sign of the New Covenant, theologically speaking. People would know who the descendants of Abraham were, for they bore the sign of circumcision, people would know who the Jews were, for they observed the Sabbath, and they would know who the followers of Jesus were, because they acted like Jesus.
So, how are we really doing with that?