An unfortunate common strategy found in many schools is students trying to get good grades with doing minimal work. I remember many classmates of mine trying to pass quizzes on required reading by merely studying the cliff notes of the assigned chapters. (Just so you know, it didn’t work very well!)
In Matthew 22, Jesus gives a sort of cliff notes when asked about the law of the Old Testament:
34 …the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you’ve been reading the One Minute Bible recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the Ten Commandments, which were given by God to the people of Israel, and are written about in Exodus 20.
In his response to the Pharisees, Jesus gave the cliff notes for the commandments, summarizing them all by saying to love God wholly and completely, and love others like you love yourself.
It’s important to see that he wasn’t replacing the Old Testament commandments, but covering them all with these two commandments, on which hang “all the Law and the Prophets.” Because when we love God completely, that means we have no other gods in our life (Commandment #1, Exodus 20:3) and we don’t misuse His name (#3, 20:7). It also means we don’t steal (#8, 20:15) or long for things that we don’t have (#10, 20:17), because we love God enough to be content with what He has given us. Likewise, loving your neighbor as yourself includes being honest (#9, 20:16) and pure (#7, 20:14).
What Jesus did with this response was highlight that we shouldn’t view following God as just a list of dos and don’ts. He wants a loving relationship with us, and when our hearts (and souls and minds) are fully His, those things will fall into place.