Monday, January 9, 2017

The Greatest Commandment

It continues to amaze me when I read the Gospels, that many of the teachings of Jesus came at a time when the Pharisees were testing our Lord's reaction to their questions.  They just knew they would eventually catch him saying or doing something so they could accuse him of violating the law.  When the Pharisees questioned Jesus it wasn't at a time when they were trying to learn something. Their goal was to keep up their attempts to find fault.

One such occasion is in Matthew 22:35-40

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.”

The answer Jesus gave to their questioning is familiar to us.  It should be no surprise that loving God is called by Jesus himself "the first and greatest commandment." No amount of time and no earthly power can do anything to minimize the emphasis of loving God being the first and greatest of all the commandments.

Jesus continued his answer for the Pharisees by going one step further and identifying the second greatest commandment, which is to "Love your neighbor as yourself."  So loving God and loving one another are given by our Lord as the primary emphasis for the entirety of life. 

And don't overlook the last sentence in Jesus' answer ..... "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." 

For those who may be looking for a starting point in learning and developing a relationship with God, this is it. Yes, there are more of the teachings of Jesus which will become important to us, too, but these two commandments are an excellent starting place. Spend some time reading God's word and in prayer as you grow and learn God's will for your life. 

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