And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
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This is indeed the constant refrain of the gospels. Have genuine faith, and be good to other people.
In the story of The Good Samaritan, we have two supposedly devout Jewish holy men who act in a selfish and unholy manner by not helping the dying man, but then a heretical Samaritan - one of the most hated groups among the Ancient Hebrews - goes above and beyond the call of duty to help, proving he is the truly "holy" figure of the three.
In the story of The Healing of The Centurion's Servant, an officer of the Roman military - one of the most hated hated groups among the Ancient Hebrews - asks Jesus to cure his paralyzed servant, and Jesus accepts immediately without question or reservation, purely because he has the power to help and it's the right thing to do.
In the story of The Pharisee and The Tax Collector, a supposedly devout Jewish holy man is criticized for being self righteous and arrogant, while a Jewish collaborator with the Roman occupiers - one of the most hated groups among the Ancient Hebrews - is praised for being humble and self effacing.
Jesus reaches out to all the people his Jewish society hates most. He bathes lepers, feeds beggars, is annointed by prostitutes, and accepts anyone and everyone who comes to him in good faith and seeks his help, no matter who they are or what they've done.
And yet, somehow, millions of people all across this nation convince themselves that they are his followers, despite acting in complete opposition to his own actions and beliefs. They think themselves holy in their hatred, and their intolerance, and their cruelty, and their meddling in the lives of others. Meanwhile the unbelievers and the heretics, who like The Good Samaritan are honest, tolerant, generous, and kind, are far holier than such supposed faithfuls could ever imagine.
I've read much of the gospels because I taught a Humanities class.
But I was struck for the first time by what you posted that Jesus said was the first commandment.
Having been raised a Jew, however secularized, I immediately recognized them: Sh'ma, yisroel adonoi elohenu adonoi echod.... Sorry for the dreadful transliterations; I don't have a Hebrew prayerbook any longer.
But here is the translation of what I learned was the most sacred Jewish prayer, provided by the Chabad group:
@pootrsox: yes, Jesus was preaching very much in a particular tradition that was important in his time, and has left a major legacy in Judaism as well as Christianity. Jesus often sounds exactly like Rabbi Hillel.
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