Recently, I asked who can recite the Ten Commandments, in order. Now, I ask who has noticed something interesting about those ten laws.
In the gospel of Mark is the story of a wealthy man who confronted Jesus and asked what he had to do to obtain eternal life. Jesus answered “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” The man claimed he had kept these laws since he was a child. Jesus then said “One thing you lack, go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10)
We know this as the story of how it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Theologians have debated and debated about whether it was literally a sewing needle or if it was a narrow passageway named the Eye of the Needle, and if a normal size camel could pass through it.
But, is this the only message in this story? Look, again, at the commandments Jesus listed. Of all the commandments, Jesus mentioned only the laws that related to our relationships with one another, and not one of the four laws that related to our relationship with God. Even Jesus’ instruction to sell everything and give to the poor, was about our relationships with one another.
Later in Mark, Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12)