February 23

Text: Matthew 7:12

"Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (NASB)

Scripture! How can a person be focused on scripture?  How can the person make it evident that scripture is in charge of his/her life?  By quoting scripture?  By carrying about a Bible everywhere he/she goes?  By placing a Bible in a prominent place at home?  By placing a Bible in an obvious place where one works?  By verbally declaring a, “Thus says the Lord!” for everything done?

This was an ancient debate that Jesus addressed in this lesson.  (Obviously, his audience did not have all our options since printing and our concept of binding were nonexistent.)  Christians just say “Scripture” when they refer to a part or the whole of the Bible.  The Israelites (long before Jesus) said, “The law, the prophets, and the writings” to what Christians refer to as the Old Testament.  Sometimes Israelites abbreviated that lengthy designation to “The Law and the Prophets.”

So, how did a person make it evident that he/she followed scripture?  There was no book to carry about or display prominently.  Hand-copied scrolls of an Old Testament writing were too expensive for the poor to own.  Perhaps many could not read even if they could afford some scrolls.  Quite a problem!  Thus, how would a righteous person be obviously scriptural?

Jesus’ answer was painfully simple.  The person would declare, “I am scriptural,” by the way he/she treated others.   How he/she treated others would be based on how he/she would like to be treated in that situation.  Kindness shown through actions was (is) the core of scripture!  Note: One would not determine his/her treatment of others on the basis of how they should be treated (subjective opinion) but on the basis of how I would want to be treated (empathic response).  “I know me, and that is the basis of my response to others.”  That is righteousness dedicated to scripture!

Suggestion for reflection: Do I have the courage to be scriptural?  (Read Romans 13:8-10.)

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