Jesus, in one sentence, summed up 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). That’s it. This is known as the “golden rule” of the Bible. But what exactly does this mean?
Were it not for the Law and the Prophets, it would be very easy to misconstrue this rule, which is what many people do. “This is the Law and the Prophets.” It’s not like the Law and the Prophets. It’s not based on the Law and the Prophets. It’s not abstractly linked to the Law and the Prophets. It is the Law and the Prophets!
The Old Testament tells us how to care for our neighbors. It’s not some profound mystery. Truth is not something we need to go on a treasure hunt for. We don’t have to go searching for ways to be compassionate to others. The Law and the Prophets are the plumb line that keep our souls in check. If people are threatening the safety of our neighbors, put yourself in the shoes of that neighbor. If people are hungry and begging in the street, put yourself in the shoes of the hungry person. If someone is experiencing abuse, put yourselves into the shoes of the abused. Ask, what would I need from my neighbor in this time of desperation?
If we can answer that question truthfully, we are close to the heart of God. The world can use people who adhere to the Golden Rule, and we have the freedom to be those people!