And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind’ .This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it – ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40
Let’s read this passage again today, now that we know the background. The Pharisees wanted to know which commandment was most important, which one should they concentrate on primarily. Perhaps they had looked inside their own hearts enough to know they couldn’t keep them all and hoped to justify themselves by at least keeping the most important one.
Jesus dashed those hopes.
He told them…and us…that all the commandments are rooted in one thing – Love. Our most important task in life is not establishing a career or having a great marriage or raising responsible kids. It’s not writing books or being famous or having laudable talent. It’s not even faithful church service or self-sacrifice for others.
Loving God and loving others.
I Corinthians 13:1-3 demonstrates the preeminence of love and the futility of all else - If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Let’s ask the Lord to teach us what LOVE is this week….