Love is the Greatest Commandment


Daily God Walk for Monday, September 12, 2011

 The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “Is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love our neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:29-31

 We have a problem with love and the reason is that it runs counter to our basic nature. When we realize that love is all about care and concern for others and our natural position is to consider others in light of how my care for them will affect me then, we can begin to understand our problem.

Jesus was quoting from the Shema, which is what Jews call the command of Deuteronomy 6:4. For centuries the Jews had followed the instruction of Moses to, “Tie [these words] as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8-9). They were to keep this command ever before themselves so they would remember to love their God.

However, they found it much easier to love with religious devotion than to love him from the heart with all of their being. Yet, that is what Jesus was calling for.

One test of whether a person loved God in the way that Jesus was calling them to love him was in the way they treated others. Jesus put loving our neighbor on the par with loving God. When asked who was a neighbor Jesus responded with the story we commonly call The Good Samaritan. That story is found in Luke chapter 10 and emphasis the point that our neighbor is anyone who is in need, even if that person is of another race or religion.

We show the world that we love God every Sunday morning, but do we show it through the week by loving our neighbor? In Mathew’s rendering of this passage he says, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40).

How important is it to love in this way? It is the very essence of what it means to be a Christian.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love and my neighbor as I should.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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