I love teaching… and I love teaching Catechism Classes. So it is with great joy that I share with all of you what was recently shared with our latest class of confirmands, as we are going through our lessons on the Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism.
We often see the “two stone tablets” depicted as huge towering blocks that appear quite heavy. The image of something very “weighty” is appropriate for rules with such gravitas. But… I’ve always found it somewhat humorous that those big blocks only have Roman Numerals (I, II, II on one block and IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X on the other). You see, Rome (founded in 753 B.C.) was not even in existence at the time of Moses! And the tablets themselves had NO numbering (Hebrew uses letters instead of numbers)… More likely, the tablets themselves were sized as you see in this picture – able to be easily held in one hand and fit in a pocket. That kind of makes you wonder – what else have we mistaken about the Ten Commandments?
Most of the world probably thinks of them as “Thou Shalt Not” rules and restrictions.
But they are really all about LOVE. Romans 5:8 puts it this way…
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It all boils down to this: God loves you AND your neighbor and your response is simply to reciprocate. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 22: 37 & 39… the first and greatest commandment is this:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
(see also Deuternomy 6:5).
And the second is like the first:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (see also Leviticus 19:18).
So, the next time you think of the Ten Commandments, think of God’s LOVE.
Pastor Jim Kirschenmann