Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 the commandments, “you shall not commit adultery,” “you shall not murder,” “you shall not steal,” “you shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
Son, this verse is great because it simplifies what God is expecting from us. Ten Commandments, all broken down into just one: “love your neighbor as yourself”. Think about that. Think about how Jesus lived by this example, even when he was being persecuted, beaten, and crucified. This message that God loves everyone, and that we should also, was the central theme of the Christian church that was first formed not long after Jesus arose from the dead.
Jesus taught his followers (apostles) many lessons that they would preach and spread to “Jews and Gentiles alike”. As they traveled spreading the word, the apostles were run out of town after town. They were persecuted wherever they went. They were jailed and beaten many times, but they never gave up. They never stopped telling others about Jesus, their faith was strong! They traveled far and near, teaching the message to everyone who’d listen. Although they had to escape and travel in secret many times, the message of Jesus and his teachings continued to spread. The Christians were growing and growing in numbers.
Those were exciting times, the formation of the Christian church! It’s awesome to hear how the message of Jesus spread and how even died-hard nonbelievers came to believe. One of the greatest apostles was a guy named Paul. He was recruited by the Jewish priests when he was only a few years older than you are now. They saw something in Paul, so the head priest became his mentor. Paul had a love for the Bible, but he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. He hated Jesus, and anyone who followed his teachings. Paul used to go house to house rounding up Christians to beat them and put them in jail. This was after he had raided their churches. But, Jesus opened his eyes.(literally and figuratively) Paul ended up telling thousands about his story and how he came to follow Jesus. He led countless to Christ.
Do you remember early on when I told you we were in for a battle, but we were not in it alone? Do you remember me telling you that we can’t win the war without help? Well guess what? We have the same help those apostles did, and look what they were able to accomplish! They didn’t have cars, planes, or the internet to help travel and spread the word. They had their feet, and the worn out sandals that barely covered them. They had paper and something to write with.
Here we are now, living in Chandler, Arizona. It is over a thousand years later, and thousands of miles from where that first Christian church began. We’ve heard about Jesus. We are part of a Christian church. Amazing!
Love you my boy,