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Keywords: The Essential Teaching Of Jesus essential teachings of Jesus Christ

The Essential Teaching Of Jesus: "Love All People As Yourself"

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ -
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The teachings of Jesus all boil down to one essential teaching: "Love all people as yourself." Everything else is subordinate to this one thing. And how can we do this? We do this by following the Golden Rule, which is, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." Here is how we come to these conclusions, based on Biblical Scripture:

Jesus was asked directly to say what the most important commandment was. His answer came in two parts: Love God more than anything else; love your neighbor as yourself.

  MARK 12:28-34 (RSV)
[28] And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one 
another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which 
commandment is the first of all?" 
[29] Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, 
the Lord is one; 
[30] and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with 
all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 
[31] The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 
There is no other commandment greater than these." 
[32] And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly 
said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 
[33] and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, 
and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is 
much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 
[34] And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You 
are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask 
him any question. 
On another occasion, Jesus was asked what was needed to obtain eternal life. His answer here is the very same thing: Love God more than anything else; love your neighbor as yourself.
       LUKE 10:25-28 (RSV)
[25] And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, 
"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 
[26] He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" 
[27] And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your 
heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all 
your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 
[28] And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will 
Then, following up, the lawyer asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus responded by giving the parable of the Good Samaritan, which shows that everyone is your neighbor. The Samaritans and the Jews did not like each other very much. They lived apart and did not consider themselves to be neighbors. So by using this parable as His example, Jesus teaches us that everyone is our neighbor. Therefore, "Love your neighbor as yourself" means "Love all people as yourself," since everyone is our neighbor. Nobody is excluded.
    LUKE 10:29-37 (RSV)
[29] But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my 
[30] Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and 
he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, 
leaving him half dead. 
[31] Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw 
him he passed by on the other side. 
[32] So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed 
by on the other side. 
[33] But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he 
saw him, he had compassion, 
[34] and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; 
then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took 
care of him. 
[35] And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the 
innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I 
will repay you when I come back.' 
[36] Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who 
fell among the robbers?" 
[37] He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, 
"Go and do likewise." 
And what is the best way to express our love for God? Is it by worshiping Him continuously? Or by praying constantly? Or by acts of fasting and self-sacrifice? Or by following every rule He ever set forth in the Bible, every Commandment?

NO! The best way to express our love for God is by loving other people. This is what He really wants from us. This is what He means when he says, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." (Matthew 9:13, 12:7) The Bible says that God accepts our love for others as if it were love for Himself. This is shown in the Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats, below, where God says, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

  MATTHEW 25:31-46 (RSV) - The Sheep And The Goats
[31] "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with 
him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 
[32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate 
them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 
[33] and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the 
[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed 
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 
of the world; 
[35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave 
me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 
[36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I 
was in prison and you came to me.' 
[37] Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee 
hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and 
clothe thee? 
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 
[40] And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it 
to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' 
[41] Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you 
cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 
[42] for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you 
gave me no drink, 
[43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not 
clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 
[44] Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or 
thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not 
minister to thee?' 
[45] Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not 
to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 
[46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous 
into eternal life." 
Before someone can say he loves God, he must first love his fellow man.
    If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; 
    for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God
    whom he has not seen. 
                      1 John 4:20 (RSV)
Paul affirms that love for others is a complete fulfillment of God's Law for us.
    For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love
    your neighbor as yourself." 
               Galatians 5:14 (RSV)
And how do we demonstrate our love for others? How do we put this love into action? By always treating others as we would like to be treated. This is the Golden Rule, taken from Matthew 7:12.
   "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for 
    this is the law and the prophets."
              Matthew 7:12 (RSV)
(For more about The Golden Rule, please see


May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><

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

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Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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God's One Law For All Mankind: "Love All People As Yourself."