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The Greater Commandments Outrank The Lesser

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ - LoveAllPeople.org
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"THE GREATER COMMANDMENTS OUTRANK THE LESSER"

The Bible teaches us that the greater commandments take priority over the lesser ones. Jesus makes this very clear when He criticizes the Pharisees for following the lesser ones while ignoring the greater, more important ones.

              "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye
               pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted
               the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and
               faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the
               other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and
               swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:23-24 KJV)
Yes, it is best if we can follow all the commandments all of the time. In the passage above, Jesus does say "not to leave the other undone."

However, sometimes two commandments conflict with each other. In these cases, we should follow the greater and break the lesser. This is what Jesus did in the following example, where the greater commandment (to have mercy) took priority over the lesser one (to do no work on the Sabbath, which itself was a very great commandment!)

        LUKE 14:1-6 (KJV)
       
        1
               And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of
               the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that
               they watched him.
        2
               And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had
               the dropsy.
        3
               And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees,
               saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
        4
               And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed
               him, and let him go;
        5
               And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an
               ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway
               pullhim out on the sabbath day?
        6
               And they could not answer him again to these things.
                                  <><

Jesus repeatedly used this example of healing on the Sabbath, because observing the Sabbath was very serious business for the Jews, one of the Ten Commandments. Yet Jesus routinely broke this commandment in order to show that mercy (Spirit of the Law) is more important than blindly observing the Sabbath (Letter of the Law). Other references to healing on the Sabbath are found in Matthew 12:10, Mark 3:2, Luke 6:7.

The greatest commandment of all, the one which outranks all others, is the commandment to love: love God first, then love all others the same as you love yourself.

                                          
             MATTHEW 22
             35
                    Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a
                    question, tempting him, and saying,
             36
                    Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
             37
                    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
                    with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
                    all thy mind.
             38
                    This is the first and great commandment.
             39
                    And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy
                    neighbour as thyself.
             40
                    On these two commandments hang all the law and the
                    prophets.

When He was questioned about "who is my neighbor?," He answered by giving the parable of the Good Samaritan, which shows that everyone is our neighbor.

    LUKE 10:25-37 (KJV)  
                          The Good Samaritan
                                      
   25
          And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him,
          saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
   26
          He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
   27
          And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
          all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
          strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
   28
          And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and
          thou shalt live.
   29
          But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is
          my neighbour?
   30
          And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from
          Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped
          him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him
          half dead.
   31
          And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and
          when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
   32
          And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and
          looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
   33
          But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:
          and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
   34
          And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and
          wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn,
          and took care of him.
   35
          And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and
          gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and
          whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay
          thee.
   36
          Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him
          that fell among the thieves?
   37
          And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto
          him, Go, and do thou likewise.
          
                                         <><

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

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May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

Please also see our related pages . . .

CHRISTIAN
ETHICS & HUMAN RELATIONS
POLITICS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Sitemap

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.


     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

Please also see our related pages . . .

CHRISTIAN
ETHICS & HUMAN RELATIONS
POLITICS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Sitemap

Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org

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