The Greatest Commandment

This post is part of a series that will take us up to the Easter holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord.

Mark 12:28–37 (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.

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

What is the greatest commandment? Jesus answered this question in an unexpected way. He said that there are two commandments that go hand-in-hand. We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This means with everything we have. And we are to love others as we love ourselves. When we examine the Old Testament law, we find that all of the law points to these two loves. The individual laws and instructions are there to teach us what it means to love God and love others.

If we do not love, both God and others, we cannot be obedient. If the whole point of God’s instruction to us is to teach us how to genuinely love, how can we claim we are obedient if there is no love? We may follow the laws and commandments of God in a religious sense, but without love it is meaningless. How is God’s word teaching you to love better? Where do you still need to improve? Ask God to help you.

Father, help us to love you and love others more. Thank you for loving us. Amen.

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