March 10, 2014 Editor

The Two Great Commandments and Prison Ministry

WN: This was my first devotional as new Executive Director given at M2/W2’s  Annual General Meeting, May 21, 1998. I began as ED April 1, 1998.

An excerpt:

Matthew 22:35-40
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:”Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Frankly, I struggle to understand the picture of God I find in some Scripture. This is especially the case when I read portions of the Old Testament. I am heartened nonetheless by the realization that Jesus is the fullest revelation of God to us who summed up the entire sweep of Hebrew Scriptures ethics with: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Whatever is difficult to understand in Scripture must first pass through the sieve of the revelation of God in Christ according to John and Hebrews 1. Jesus is the “key” to unlock the interpretation of all Scripture – something he demonstrated himself, as you remember, after the resurrection with some despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus.

All Scripture points to Jesus. No Scripture is to be interpreted apart from our understanding of Jesus. For we know God best, the texts in John 1 and Hebrews 1 say, when we look most fully into the face of Jesus Christ. This insight is beautifully summed up in a passage in II Corinthians (4:4-6):
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.