Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent 2021 - Second Table of the Law (Anderson)

February 25 – Pastor Anderson

“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:39–40). The second table of the Law deals with the question of how to love your neighbor as yourself. Since our inclinations are tainted by sin, it is not our natural reaction to do this. We are pretty good at loving ourselves, but not so much at extending that love out to others. How do you love your neighbor as yourself? Honor your father and your mother. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false testimony. Do not covet your neighbor’s possessions.

This leads us to a question, one that was posed by a religious teacher in Jesus’s day: “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). In response, Jesus gives the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We’re not just talking about those who are physically close to you. Your neighbor is more than just the person who lives next door. A neighbor is anyone with whom you come in contact. Jesus clarifies for this religious teacher that all people are our neighbors. It’s awfully similar to Mister Rogers and his old question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Yes, yes, I will…and I am.

We should not be deceived into thinking that these commandments forbid external actions only. Just because you have not taken the life of another person does not mean you have kept the Fifth Commandment. Jesus is concerned about the heart and He sees what is inside of you. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:21–22). Anger is the same as murder. Later on, in that same chapter, Jesus teaches that lust is the same as adultery. Have you broken these commandments now? We must stand in silence.

There is much in these commandments on which we must meditate our entire lives. Nobody keeps these commandments perfectly, yet they are God’s will for His creation. Sin has turned us in upon ourselves. God’s Law, through these Ten Commandments, points us outside of ourselves to our God and our neighbor. Concern yourself with these things when you want to know what God wills for your life. Have you ever asked the question, “What does God want me to do?” Here is the answer. Love Him above all else. Love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these two commandments rest all of the Law and the Prophets. So, get to work. Your neighbor and his needs are waiting.

February 26
Read Mark 4

February 27 & 28
Read Sunday’s Lectionary Readings and attend Divine Service

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 5:1-11
Mark 8:27-38