The instructions in Exodus 21, verses 12 to 36, are designed to create an environment in which people can live together safely without fear or threat. Law is essential if there is to be this kind of order. “Thou shalt not kill,” is a law which enables us to live together in peace and harmony. But this law was given not only to prohibit hatred and violence, but to promote love and compassion. This is how Jesus explained it.

The life of my neighbor is precious to God, and it must be precious to me. It is not enough to refrain from murder, but I must also give careful forethought to the wellbeing of my neighbor. When Cain was asked by God, “where is your brother, Abel?” Cain, the first murderer, answered God’s question with a question. He said, “am I my brother’s keeper?” The correct answer is, “of course you are!”

When the Pharisees interpreted the law, they focused on what shouldn’t be done. When Jesus interpreted the law, he focused on what SHOULD be done. That’s why Jesus explained the entire law structure in two phrases: Love God, Love others. Where there is love, “thou shalt not…” becomes an overwhelming “thou shalt…”

Nike has a great catch phrase: “Just do it!”