“There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Which is the greatest commandment? The one about adultery or killing maybe? Perhaps it’s one of the laws listed in Leviticus? In Mark 12:28-34 we find out.

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
‘Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

This is among my favorite scriptures from the Gospels and I note it often. Why? Because in it Jesus sets our priorities for us and at the same time throttles many of our unjust judgments against others.

Some who call themselves Christians rail against those who break the “lesser” of the commandments, yet fail to show them love. Some who call themselves Christians go to great lengths to call out others for breaking specific laws set out for the Israelites, though they may break others themselves, yet fail to show them love.

Jesus Himself never condemns those who break God’s commandments. He calls them to Himself and through their faith saves them. He forgives them and upon His cross He redeems them. Given the opportunity to stone the adulterous woman, He refuses and sends her on her way, forgiven. It is the repentant and those of faith who are healed and saved, but in every case, Jesus refuses to condemn; He loves them. I suspect He even loves those who do not repent, though they may not reach the Kingdom of God.

Who does Jesus save His wrath for? Those who are self-righteous, publicly pious, who set impossible standards for others to observe yet in secret do not observe themselves, and those who defile the temple — the hypocrites and cheaters. Those who seem to love themselves and their power over others more than they love God or others.

Curiously, when I hear others use scripture to call out others – sinners – I never hear them quote this passage of scripture. I never hear their call to love. I hear only judgment, condemnation, and I hear a lot of call for ridicule or stoning or killing. And clearly that is not what Jesus Himself ever intended.

Jesus calls us as Christians to love. He tells us elsewhere in scripture not to judge and if we are ourselves sinners (we all are!) not to “stone” (in other words, condemn or take any other punitive action against) others. Being a minister or preacher or priest or preacher-wannabe doesn’t give someone license to break ranks with Jesus on this one.

If we are to live in a better world, if we are to leave this world for the Kingdom of God, then we need to obey Jesus’ command to love God and to love one another. Jesus Himself said, “There is no commandment greater than these.”

Advertisements

27 thoughts on ““There is no other commandment greater than these.”

  1. Do you know Jesus’ priority among the two commandments?

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    Like

    • Thank you for commenting, Matthew. While Jesus made love of God the first commandment, he followed it up quickly with love of others as second – and He was never asked what was the second of all commandments; He brought it up – so I think we can say that Jesus felt it was right up there with the first in importance in observance. Jesus ministered to people, was compassionate about their care and serving to one another. His mission was to bring God’s love to people and sharing that love among one another, so He paired them as commandments. It begins with loving God but must be followed by loving one another. If you miss the loving of others, you entirely miss Jesus’ point. There is no idolatry in that. And why are you picking on Paul? Paul was an “accuser of our brethren” when he was Saul, before his conversion to Christ, not after. And it was at Paul’s urging that gentiles were allowed to share in the Christian faith.

      Like

      • Alan,
        Thank you for your thoughtful response. While I am generally in agreement with a number of your points, your choice of language reveals some subtle clues which reveal the “Prevailing Evangelical mindset” which I am bringing to light.

        You said QUOTE: ” Jesus made love of God the first commandment,….”
        But I say,
        Jesus did not make all Scripture
        Into one new great commandment.
        He summarized The Law and Prophets
        “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

        Jesus did not make a commandment, he QUOTED two existing commandments, from the Law of Moses, which He came to fulfill, (not to abolish as Paul falsely taught.)
        The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and the one in Leviticus 19:18.

        And Jesus identified one of these two commandments as “first and greatest”, “most important”, while the other one is “the Second.” The are NOT both equally important – one is the most important, and the other one in necessarily of lesser importance.
        You said, QUOTE:
        “Jesus felt it was right up there with the first in importance in observance.”
        Well,
        in normal conversation about most topics, I would say fine, sure, let’s not “nit pick”… However, those are YOUR words, and they are a little too fuzzy for me on this particular topic, when it comes to the words of Jesus quoting two different Laws of Moses. I think we can listen to Jesus speak for himself, without Paul or someone else to filter His words.
        If you think “right up there” means, equal, I must insist that no, it does not. Not according to Jesus.
        The relationship, interrelationship, connection, overlap, and application of these two commandments is something that should be on our minds all day long, every day. But they are two different commandments from the Law, not one new great commandment, and they are not equally important, and not the same. The Second is ONE essential application of the First – one of many. It is not the ONLY application.

        Paul was an “accuser of our brethren” in Corinth, reminding them of their shameful past before they were converted and naming specific “uncool” sins when he wrote to them.
        Jesus never did that with any of his followers. (The woman at the well was not a follower of Jesus when she first met Him. And “Go and sin no more” is not bringing up specific pre-conversion sins, even if the woman caught in adultery happened to be a follower of Jesus already – which is doubtful anyway.)
        If you don’t agree with this observation, please quote me chapter and verse where Jesus brought up specific pre-conversion sins of His followers.

        Like

      • Hi Matthew. Another thoughtful comment – thank you. I’m not up on any “prevailing Evangelical mindset”, so I cannot comment on that. Sorry.

        I think you are missing the forest for the trees. You won’t find anywhere that I said that Jesus was creating commandments. On the contrary, my commentary was solely on Jesus’ response to the question, which is the greatest commandment? He responded with which were the *two* greatest commandments, and He tied them together. Yes, the greatest is to love God. But closely behind it is loving others. And Jesus spent His ministry tying together the love of God and love of others, and spent a predominance of His time ministering to the needs of others, showing the love, compassion, and mercy of the Father and showing how to share that with others.

        If you explore the other pages of this site you will see that I don’t spend any time on the other books of the New Testament, just the Gospels. So you are on your own battling Paul.

        Like

  2. Alan,
    How refreshing that you share the Orthodox perspective to elevate the 4 Gospels above everything else in priority and importance. (As you may know, Eastern Orthodox Churches have a special “Book of the Four Gospels” that is the ONLY book put on the altar in church…..)

    I really have nothing to “disagree” about regarding your last post – yet behind the words, there may be an unstated assumption that is comes from Paul’s false teaching, which directly contradicts Jesus. Paul wrote the Jesus “abolished the Law.”
    Jesus commanded us directly NOT to think that, in the Sermon on the Mount.

    Jesus didn’t combine these two commandments into “One new great commandment” with “two parts”. They are still 2 distinct commandments, from the Law of Moses. And Jesus put at least 3 times as much emphasis on Deuteronomy 6:4-5 compared to Leviticus 19:18. He didn’t emphasize them “equally.”
    The way we love God is different than how we should love people. Worship, prayer, absolute trust and obedience belong to God alone – not people. We should not “love” people that way.

    I understand the order of priority among the 4 Gospels as being
    first, the Apostles Matthew and John,
    followed closely by Mark (as scribe for Peter and other Apostles),
    and lastly Luke the investigative reporter who came later and provided useful biographical details.
    Do you see the Gospels that way?

    Like

    • I believe that if you want to know what Jesus would say or do, go to the source: The Gospels. Of course, Jesus sent out the Apostles to spread the Gospels, but they go beyond the Gospels in their books (or those who wrote them do). So that is why I present only the Gospels here. To provide What Would Jesus Do.

      I agree that we love God differently that we love one another. But Jesus nonetheless commands us to love one another and care for one another. I believe that’s what we’re here for – to do the Father’s will in caring for one another. That’s why Jesus paired the two commandments together. To parse it otherwise is to split hairs. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus spends His time caring for people and He commands us to do the same.

      I haven’t heard of a priority in the order of the Gospels, but Matthew and Mark seem to get more attention, followed by Luke and then John. They are ordered in the Bible as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I could easily be wrong, however.

      Like

      • Alan,
        I believe the words of Jesus in the Gospels give us “a priority in the order of the Gospels.”
        .1)
        Jesus said “My prayer in not for THEM alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through THEIR MESSAGE.” [John 17:20]
        THEM = the 11 Apostles present in the room with Jesus at the Last Supper. Only 3 wrote “Scripture” – Matthew, John, and Peter.

        (Mark is generally understood to be the first teachings of Peter and other Apostles who could not yet write, so Mark served as their scribe. As you know, much of Matthew is identical to Mark, thereby confirming with a second witness that Mark’s testimony is true.)

        Some Eastern Orthodox artwork reflects this order, with the Apostles Matthew and John as the top level, closely followed by Mark, with Luke last.

        .2)
        “Jesus spoke to “the eleven” disciples about “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded YOU.” [Matthew 28:20]
        YOU = The same eleven Apostles present at the Last Supper.
        Your thoughts?

        Like

  3. Alan,
    You asked me QUOTE:
    “And why are you picking on Paul? Paul was an “accuser of our brethren” when he was Saul, before his conversion to Christ, not after. And it was at Paul’s urging that gentiles were allowed to share in the Christian faith.”

    I answered you:
    Paul was an “accuser of our brethren” in Corinth, reminding them of their shameful past before they were converted and naming specific “uncool” sins when he wrote to them.
    Jesus never did that with any of his followers.

    If you QUOTE: “don’t spend any time on the other books of the New Testament, just the Gospels.” that is fine. We don’t need to waste time arguing about “what Paul really meant”, etc. etc. But since you asked me, I’ve answered.
    I’m not going to repeat Paul’s malicious gossip when Paul “accused the brethren” in Corinth, but if you want to look it up and verify the evidence, see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
    Do you agree that my observation here, contrasting Paul’s behavior with that of Jesus, is accurate, based on the text of the Bible?

    Like

    • [Note: You don’t have to say “QUOTE” before quoting something. ;-)]

      As I said earlier, I don’t spend time here on the other books of the New Testament, so it’s off topic for this blog. I should have stuck to that rule earlier.

      Like

      • Alan, OK no problem.
        – I understand you need to “pick your battles”, and you want to be Orthodox and focus on the 4 most important Books, the Gospels.
        Your inadvertent comment to me was one of the primary motivations for me to write the following new poem, so I will just share it with you here, and then drop the subject.

        Poem – Looking forward (Rocky)

        Jesus never calls us out
        For what we used to be.
        His voice is so much greater
        Than paul the Pharisee.

        “You are Simon son of John”
        said Jesus, without elaboration.
        No mention of a cloudy past
        No hint of condemnation.

        No accusation against the brothers
        No comments dark and obscure,
        Writing to the Church in Corinth
        “that is what some of you were.”

        Not the voice of the accuser,
        Boss Paul the Pharisee,
        Telling the redeemed people of God
        About what they used to be.

        Jesus never said right is wrong,
        He never said wrong is right.
        He came so we can turn from darkness
        And into His glorious light.

        “Neither do I condemn you” said Jesus,
        to a woman entrapped by dogs.
        The game the dogs play is the same today,
        Except now they do it on blogs.

        “Go and sin no more” said Jesus,
        Don’t relive that history.
        Look forward, not back, don’t dwell on your past.
        “You will be called” Rocky.

        Like

      • Note to my readers:
        I do not accept Matthew’s label for me as Orthodox nor do I ascribe to his view of Paul as Pharisee, nor do I address any of the books of the New Testament other than the Gospels. His views stand alone.

        Like

      • Alan,
        Here are some relevant quotes for explanation, so we can move along and focus on the Gospels….

        Orthodox
        2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.
        [Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition.]

        The Apostles’ Creed
        1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
        2. And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
        3. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
        4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell;
        5. The third day He rose again from the dead;
        6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
        7. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
        8. I believe in the Holy Spirit.
        9. I believe a holy catholic Church, the communion of saints;
        10. The forgiveness of sins;
        11. The resurrection of the body;
        12. And the life everlasting. AMEN.
        http://apostles-creed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Apostles-Creed.pdf

        “Then PAUL….. CALLED OUT in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I AM A PHARISEE, the son of a Pharisee….” [Acts 23:6, recorded by Luke]

        Like

      • In the Gospels, I see that Jesus often rebuked or admonished His followers for their current sins, but He never brought up or named their specific pre-conversion sins. Do you aree with this observation about the text of the Gospels?

        Like

      • Let’s parse some language here. There were many among Jesus’ followers. There were His disciples, whom He rebuked for their shortcomings but I don’t recall Him calling out their sins. There were those who came to Him for healing, whom He occasionally admonished to sin no more but more frequently acknowledged their faith. I think it is more accurate to say that Jesus never condemned anyone for their sins, past or present, except when He condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy – but then, they were not His followers.

        Like

      • Alan
        As a follower of Jesus, you are in agreement with this message – right?

        The message of The 11 (“The narrow gate”)

        “The eleven disciples went to Galilee”
        “Where Jesus had told them to go”
        They heard His voice and obeyed His will
        Despite uncertainty down below

        Jesus spoke to them at length
        He wasn’t really a Tweeter
        Only 3 of them wrote Scripture
        Matthew John and Peter

        “Feed my sheep” said Jesus, for though
        “Heaven and earth will pass away”
        I have the words of eternal life and
        “My words will never pass away”

        “Enter through the narrow gate”
        The voice of Jesus through the eleven
        Believe in Jesus “through their message”
        And “eat from the tree of life” in heaven

        Jesus commissioned the eleven
        With “everything I have commanded you”
        “Teaching THEM to obey” Jesus
        And “THEM” means me and you !

        “The command given by our Lord and Savior”
        Is not a Pharisee speaking alone
        It came rather “through your apostles”
        Matthew Peter and John

        If a Pharisee boasts proudly
        Those men added nothing to my message
        He doesn’t speak for Jesus
        His words are nothing more than garbage

        Bibliography
        All “quotes” in “quotation marks” are from the writings of the Apostles Matthew John and Peter in the Bible, mostly the “Red Letter” words of Jesus. [Matthew, John, Revelation, 2 Peter – NIV]

        Like

      • Hi Matthew. Messaging through poetry again, I see. As you know, I don’t comment on Paul, whom you call the Pharisee. My focus is on the words from the Gospels and I prefer to keep it that way. That said, the reason I focus on the Gospels is that if you want to know what God thinks about something you should read what He said or what He did. The Apostles were sent out to share the Gospels. Now, they did communicate to their communities through letters, and that’s what we read from Paul as he tried to guide his followers, just as John and James did. I think Jesus would want us to be charitable toward them and not call their words “garbage”, even if we were to disagree with them. I don’t recall the exact timing, but after Judas betrayed Jesus and after His crucifixion and death, rising again, and time with His disciples, the Apostles named someone to replace Judas and the eleven became twelve again. The new twelfth disciple was also named Judas. So your number may be off by one.

        Like

      • Beloved brother Alan
        You are talking about Paul as if he were an apostle, which is essentially “begging the question.” In short, Matthias was the 12th appointed apostle according to Acts 1, and there are only 12 apostles, according to Revelation 21:14.

        It would be helpful to first consider the basic question

        “What is an Apostle?”
        Here is the answer based on the original sources:
        The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

        .1) Gospel of Mark (which is the teachings of the Apostle Peter, recorded by Mark.) – There is a time lag between being appointed and being sent
        “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

        Three chapters later,
        “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

        .2) Gospel of Matthew is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
        “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

        Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear record in Mark (and Luke,) it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, (and Luke chapters 6 through 9.)

        So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally trained them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

        The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

        Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, (a Pharisee and self-appointed “apostle”) rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

        As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

        “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

        Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

        Responding to a question from Peter,
        “Jesus said to them:
        …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

        We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

        The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
        “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

        The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

        Like

      • That’s a good study on the question of what is an apostle. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it’s a good study and I’ll have to give it some study, also. As I have repeatedly said, I don’t comment outside the Gospels in this blog (it’s called staying on topic). You can take it up with Our Lord when you get to Heaven. 😉

        Like

      • Great Alan !
        Here are four quotes exclusively from the Gospels.

        “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

        “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

        “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

        “Jesus said to them:
        …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

        There are more Gospel passages I could quote too, especially from John.

        Based exclusively on the Gospels, we can say that the number of Apostles, according to Jesus and the Gospel writers,
        Is limited to twelve in number. And the requirement was that that they had followed Jesus faithfully DURING His earthly ministry. (That would exclude Paul, Barnabas, Luke, and anyone today or in the future.)

        Do you agree, based exclusively on the Gospels? If not, why not, specifically?
        Blessings following Jesus.

        Like

      • Brother Matthew (I like that):
        I believe from the Gospels we can discern that during His ministry on Earth, Jesus appointed the twelve His Apostles, his consistent brothers and leaders in ministry to the Jews. Having read — very briefly last night — it appears James, the brother of Jesus, may have been an apostle, too. There is debate about that.

        Here is where things become murky: It became apparent that someone needed to address the Gentiles. Paul is considered the apostle who brought the Gentiles into the faith, and Jesus is supposed to have appeared before Paul and converted him to the faith and, thus, brought him into the ministry. But that’s in the Acts of the Apostles, not in the Gospels. The Christian Church as one recognizes him as an apostle. Whether Jesus does is not addressed in the Gospels and so I express no opinions on it.

        Like

      • Brother Alan
        You wanted to focus exclusively on the Gospels – Great ! Let’s do that.
        So the underlying question which the two of us need to determine – based exclusively on the 4 Gospels – is,
        What IS an “apostle”? According to the 4 Gospels?
        (Not church tradition, or other people’s opinions, or Paul, or Acts, or a modern Greek dictionary.)

        I see that the apostles were appointed as a fixed number, 12. They were unique witnesses of the entire ministry of Jesus. I’ve already quoted a number of passages as backup for this, and you have not refuted any of them, so I don’t think you need me to quote any more right now.

        You don’t accept Acts 1, and it is not necessary to quote that passage in order to “prove” this – but it nicely summaries what you can find in the Gospels themselves.

        Jesus “commissioned” the 11 with the message of the 11 at the end of Gospel of Matthew – not “Paul’s gospel.” Only 2 men were qualified to replace Judas as the 12th and final apostle, and only 1 was chosen, since there was only 1 seat open. The 12 Apostles were 12 WITNESSES. That is the key word. Paul, Barnabas, James, and Luke were not witnesses.

        Do you agree? If not, please quote me from the Gospels to show me why.

        Like

      • I can see no error in your reasoning, brother Matthew, as far as the Gospels are concerned. It grieves me that you are so focused on Paul, who does not appear in the Gospels. Jesus teaches us to love everyone, even those who seem at odds with us. Perhaps there’s a place in your heart for Paul, who welcomed the Gentiles into the Church when the others were at first reluctant.

        Like

      • Beloved brother Alan
        We agree ! This is great.

        I agree with you that:
        The Gospel of the Apostle Matthew,
        The Gospel of the Apostle John, and
        The Gospel of Mark (recording the teachings of the Apostle Peter)
        are more authoritative and important than
        Luke’s book of “Acts.”

        Luke, who arrived on the scene decades later, provides additional background material, as a Gentile investigative reporter and traveling companion of Paul. (Not as an eyewitness, original disciple of Jesus, or apostle.) In the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, Luke alludes to this.
        So let’s leave aside both Acts AND Luke for now, and focus on the other 3 Gospels – what do you say?

        We need to know what “apostle” means, and what it doesn’t mean.
        The Mormon Church today claims it has 12 “apostles” in charge – I don’t accept that, based on Matthew, Mark, and John. I assume you don’t accept it either – but can you articulate why, based exclusively on Matthew, Mark and John?

        Like

      • Brother Alan
        You wanted to limit discussion to the 4 Gospels. I’ve suggested discussion at a “lower pay-grade”, limited to only 3 of these Gospels – less text material means less work for us, no?

        If we can’t apply the Gospels in real daily life, about important things, what good are they to us?
        For example,
        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ? (We can find the answer in Matthew 22 and Mark 12)

        Or
        Today, there are thousands of men (and women) all over the world, and all over “Christian TV”, who claim they are “Apostles.”
        Are they – or not?
        If not, why not? As followers of Jesus, I think we should look first at what Jesus and the Apostles Jesus appointed had to say, in Matthew Mark and John. Surely they knew better than someone who came later, such as Paul (or Luke), right? Why not open our Gospels and see for ourselves? A lot of people always disagree with the truth, right?

        Like

  4. Alan,
    I appreciate your willingness to open the Gospels and openly discuss them. I’m not sure exactly where to draw the line in some cases between Jesus
    “rebuking for their shortcomings”
    calling out their sins” and
    “condemning” people.

    But Jesus telling Peter “Get behind me Satan” is pretty strong language. I wouldn’t say Jesus “condemned” Peter there, but I would certainly see this as calling out his present sin. (The words of Jesus through the Apostle John in Revelation chapters 2 & 3 are full of rebukes and calling out specific sins in particular churches.) So if Satan spoke once through Peter, the chosen leader of Jesus’ chosen Apostles, Satan could certainly speak through other people at times, even if they are “Christian leaders”, for example.

    The point I am driving at is, how does Jesus see the sins of HIS FOLLOWERS, Pre-conversion sins versus current, Post-conversion sins? I see that Jesus never reminded his followers of any specific pre-conversion sins. Do you agree, based on the text of the Gospels?

    Like

  5. Looking forward – Chapter 2

    “I am he who searches hearts and minds”
    says the Risen Jesus Christ
    “Repent and do what you did at first”
    Don’t be lazy since He paid the price

    Yes, Jesus sees our sins today
    Don’t think that He is blind
    But the words of paul the Pharisee
    Will put you in a bind

    Jesus washed away your sins
    Don’t listen to paul the accuser
    paul abandoned the Church in Corinth
    And then paul became an abuser

    When you put your trust in Jesus
    Yes, your stains were white as snow
    You didn’t need to wear a Scarlet Letter
    Everywhere you go

    “I will repay each of you
    According to your deeds”
    This is Jesus speaking to The Church
    Not a business selling felt needs

    For “those who claim to be apostles”
    Jesus said they must be “tested”
    Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos
    Persevered and were not bested

    They exposed the false teachings
    Of paul the Pharisee
    So the Church in Ephesus rejected paul
    And had a chance to be free

    Bibliography
    All quotes are the words of Jesus,
    in Revelation Chapter 2 (Authored by the Apostle John)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s