There is one sentence that Jesus uttered that summed up what is the Law and the Prophets: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 ESV). This is what’s known as the Golden Rule.
It really is Golden and if people really understood this and lived it the world would be a very peaceful place. Almost everyone desires compassion, nurturing, kindness, and mercy. We all have essential needs in order to survive too–water, food, clothing, and shelter. But so many people lack those basic needs and desires. Imagine a world where any of these were stripped away from us. Remove compassion for a moment and pretend that everyone who you ever came into contact with was ruthless and cruel. We would be in a mental state of fatigue and misery after only a few hours.
The same can be true of any one of these. Take away food and we starve. Take away water and we dehydrate and die. Remove shelter and we freeze or burn up. Yet people are living without these things every day all over the world. If we grasp the Golden Rule–to treat others the way we want to be treated–we become driven to help them. It’s literally as simple as that. Jesus didn’t give a sermon on this. He gave a sentence.