Posted tagged ‘greatest commandment’

The Imago Dei

July 23, 2018


When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment,” he said “the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your soul”. Ravi Zacharias notes that Jesus didn’t have to go any further. He had been asked what was the greatest commandment, and he answered the question, but he didn’t stop there. He offered a second greatest commandment, which is “to love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matthew 22:36-39)

Why did Jesus go further?

The significance of these two commandments that are the greatest of all, Ravi Zacharias says, is “that you and I are made in imago dei – the image of God. Moreover, this revolutionary idea, that we are created in the image of God, is unique to the Judeo-Christian worldview.

The point is further illustrated elsewhere in the same Chapter of Matthew in a confrontation between pupils of the Pharisees, who were sent to challenge Jesus by asking him whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. They were trying to trap him with a question for which there was no good, politically correct, answer, but Jesus was not deterred by their ill will.

Rather, Jesus requested a coin. Someone produced a denarius (a Roman coin) for him. Ravi Zacharias describes the interchange that ensued this way.

“He held the coin out to [the man who gave it to him], and he said, ‘Whose image is on this?’ The man said, ‘Caesar.’ Jesus said, ‘Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and give to God that which belongs to God.’ The man should have had a follow up question, and the follow up question should have been, ‘What belongs to God?’ and Jesus would have said, ‘Whose image is on you?’”

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To Bake or Not To Bake a Cake

April 17, 2015

Client at shop paying at cash register_

I understand a blog post has gone viral around the Internet called “Bake for them Two”. The blogger suggests that, when asked to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage, Christians should not just bake one; they should bake two, even if they believe gay marriage is wrong. The basis for the blog article is this statement in the Sermon on the Mount: if someone forces you to walk a mile with them, walk with them two. (Matthew 5:41)

The back drop to the short parable is that Roman law required people to carry a Roman soldier’s equipment up to a mile if demanded. Such a request of a Jew in that time of Roman occupation of the Promised Land would have been anathema. It would have been a difficult thing for the religious Jews of Judea to stomach – to help their occupiers by carrying their equipment. The suggestion by Jesus that one should be willing to go two miles if required to carry the equipment for one mile was a radical idea (like turning the other cheek, praying for your persecutors and loving your enemies, which are also part of the Sermon on the Mount).

The Bake for Them Two blogger suggests that the same principle should be applied to the current controversy over wedding cakes for gay marriage. Even if a person believes that gay marriage is immoral, if asked to bake one wedding cake for a gay marriage, we should bake two!

Before I even read the first blog, I came across a video blog (Stand to Reason) in which the blogger questions the idea that baking two wedding cakes is the proper response of the Christian who believes that the union of same sex couples is sin/immoral. The speaker poses these questions: if someone asks you to steal a man’s cloak, should you steal two? If someone asks you to make one pornographic movie, should you make two? Going back to Jesus, who was a carpenter: if someone asked him to make one idol, should Jesus make two?

The video blogger obviously concludes that the Christian should not bake one wedding cake for the gay couple, let alone two. The argument might seem compelling to the Christian who wants to do the right thing and not endorse what is believed to be an immoral act. But does the argument logically follow? Is that what Jesus would really say?

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