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Jesus makes the inscrutably complicated law simple and manageable again.
We keep digging through the silver mine, desperately searching for wisdom to understand the connection between law and land. Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). As Christians, we like to believe that the OT law – once fulfilled – no longer applies, because to us it looks like as if the physical death of the Messiah also “killed” the law (Romans 7.4) – therefore it no longer applies to us. If that was true, any possible connection (/relationship/bond) between law and land must have died as well. Fortunately it turns out: we are not lawless and completely free to do whatever we want. Because Jesus made it unmistakably clear that nothing, not even the least stroke of a pen will disappear from the law:
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven”Jesus Messiah
That’s probably why the Pharisees asked him about the greatest commandment.
Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength and love for your neighbor as yourself, fulfills the whole long, complicated law of the Old Testament. By doing just that in an impressive way, Jesus fulfilled the law in its entirety. And he gives us the mandate to do the same: to love God with all our might and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In other words: love is our law.
Love is the law to which we are bound.
We cannot escape this law. It is actually the most beautiful law that one can imagine: to love and to be loved.
However, we must keep in mind that these commandments have two imperatives and a comparison:
- Love God
- Love your neighbor
and only then
- as yourself.
Activism is required here, because people are most likely to care for themselves, but this wouldn’t fulfill neither of these two requirements.
Why is love so important? To do this, we climb a little further up in the New Testament before rappelling back into the Old Testament.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.1 John 4:16
The greatest commandment is extremely important because God is love. 1. John 4:16 reminds us of the Garden of Eden when the world was still in order.
Now that we are beginning to understand the connection between love and land, we are ready to read the first chapters of the Bible with new eyes.