Love God. Love Your Neighbor.

1 John 419 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 12:28–34 (ESV)

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 22:34-40; Luke 12:25-28

Understanding and Applying the Word

A scribe, an expert in the Old Testament Law went to Jesus and asked him what the most important commandment was. It is certainly an interesting question; perhaps one you have wondered about as well. Jesus’ response is actually a two part response. The people of God are to love the Lord with all of their heart and love their neighbor as they love themselves. Why did Jesus not give one command, but two? It is because these two commandments are tied together. It is impossible to love the Lord without loving our neighbor (cf. 1 John 4:19).

How we feel and act towards others tells us a great deal about our relationship with God. The more like Christ we become, the greater our love for others will become. After all, Jesus came into the world to save sinners from destruction. He did so by giving his life as a sacrifice. Now he calls on each and every one of his disciples to do the same. We are called to serve others and to take the life-giving gospel of reconciliation to the world. We will not do this if we are not motivated by love for God and for others. Do you love the Lord? Do you love your neighbors? Then let us proclaim the message of salvation and life to all!

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