"And the second is like it – ‘You shall love others as yourself.’ There is no other instruction greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)
Jesus says this after he says:
“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction." (Mark 12:29-30)
How is the "second like it"?Jesus is clearly stating that loving others is inseparable from loving God. Being "like it" means that loving others is part and parcel of loving God. The two are inseparable.
Let's say, for example, you had a great friend that you loved dearly. And that friend had a baby. Would you scorn the baby while you loved your friend? Certainly not. Your friend's baby would also be the recipient of your love for your friend.
In other words, your love for your friend's baby would be an extension of your love for your friend. They would be inseparable.
In the same way, loving others is an extension of loving the Supreme Being.
We are each a member of God's familyThis is all about family. Being in the same family. We are all members of God's family.
Jesus is attesting that loving others is related to loving the Supreme Being. How so? Because each of us is related to the Supreme Being. We are each a child of God. We are each part of God's family.
In the physical world, most people have a particular fondness for their family members that are not shared with those outside the family. A man, for example, will be fond of his children, and his children's children. But he won't have that sort of fondness for those outside his family. He may even look upon others with disgust.
We see this a lot in modern life. We see how a man will go out and be hostile to others - whether in business or politics or war. But when the man comes home to his family his tune will change. Suddenly, he is a loving man who cares about what his children did at school that day.
But the next day, the same man may go out again and be hostile towards those who are outside his family. Why is this?
Family misidentificationThe reason people will feel a fondness for family members and hostile towards others is due to identification with the physical body. If we think we are this physical body then we will only see those with related physical bodies as family.
But this is wrong, as we show clearly in this treatise about our real identity. We are not these physical bodies. These physical bodies are temporary vehicles we drive around for awhile. Within a few decades, these physical bodies will die and we will leave them behind.
Our real composition is spirit. We are made of spirit, not matter. As such, our family is also composed of spirit. And our Supreme Father - is the Supreme Spirit. This means that we are related to the Supreme Being and we are all each related to each other.
In other words, we are all brothers and sisters from the same family - the family of the Supreme Being.
"Neighbor" or "Any other person"?This is also reflected in the translation of πλησίον (plēsion) to "any other person" in the Gospels of Jesus. In most sectarian Biblical translations we mostly find this word translated to "neighbor."
"Neighbor" is a very narrow and inaccurate translation of the Greek word πλησίον (plēsion). According to Thayer's lexicon, the word refers to "any other" or "fellow man" ("fellow person").
The use of the word "neighbor" is subject to gross misinterpretation. Could this mean loving only those who are in the same neighborhood? How about someone who lives outside our neighborhood - say, in another country?
Can a person living in another country truly be our "neighbor?" Those with a global frame of reference might say yes, because we all are neighbors throughout the world.
But if one interprets "neighbor" precisely, the translation is definitely suggesting there are those who are not our neighbors. Perhaps this is someone who doesn't have the same nationality we have. Perhaps someone who doesn't go to the same church that we go to. Or someone who doesn't believe in God. Or someone who is not human.
All of these notions work to divide us into the physical realm. The word neighbor in itself assumes that someone cannot be our neighbor for one reason or another.
But this is not what Jesus is saying. He is speaking of loving EVERYONE. Regardless of whether they are our physical neighbor or not. Regardless of whether they go to the same church or believe as we do. Jesus wants us to love that person regardless.
What if they don't occupy a human body?Yes, our spiritual family members are also occupying other types of physical bodies. These include animals, fish, birds and so on. Within each of those bodies is a person. A spirit-person. And each spirit-person is our relative. They are also members of our family.
This is suggesting that Jesus wants us to not only love each other as family members. But also love our fellow spirit-persons who are occupying other types of physical bodies.
This is precisely why Jesus did not eat meat. He did not want to unnecessarily cause the suffering of those who are wearing animal bodies. Yes, he did eat fish in order to keep the body fit. But he rendered as little suffering upon others as possible.
Such a choice would also include what we eat. Do we need to eat animal flesh in order to keep our bodies alive? In some instances - such as in the frozen tundra or the middle of the desert - that might be true. But in the modern age, we can certainly eat more consciously. We can keep our bodies healthy - even healthier - by not torturing and killing animals for food.
We can apply what Jesus says about loving one another in so many other situations. As we struggle for territory or position, we can consider who we might be struggling with. If we are struggling with others, we are struggling with our own family members. With those who share in the same inheritance that we do.
What is our common inheritance?The common inheritance we each share - no matter what we may currently believe or do - is that we each have the potential of a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
This is our inheritance because this completes us. Love of God is what we are each seeking to achieve as we chase fame, wealth and sensual pleasure. We are seeking to become fulfilled. We are seeking to be completed.
The Supreme Being completes us because He is our Soul Mate. He is the "One" we are perpetually looking for throughout our lives.
Conversely, when we don't have our loving relationship with the Supreme Being, we are empty inside. Without our loving relationship with the Supreme Being, we have a void within us.
What fills that void is our innate loving relationship with the Supreme Being and the rest of our family.
This is why Jesus says that there are "no other instructions greater than these" - these being loving God and loving others.