The Greatest Commandment
By Barbara Keim
September 1, 2008
Matthew 22:34-40 says, But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36MASTER, WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind. 38This is the FIRST and great commandment. 39And the SECOND is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.
I LOVE to read Jesus' response to these preachers of the day when they asked him "I gotcha questions," because he never responded how they wanted him to or how they expected him to. YOU SEE THEY EXPECTED JESUS TO GIVE A LIST OF THE LAWS THEY WERE SO PROUDLY CLINGING TO. Instead Jesus didn't even mention anything listed in the law they were referring to, but he said the greatest commandment I want to leave you with is to LOVE. "LOVE God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (this is listed in Mark 12) and then LOVE your neighbor as you LOVE yourself." So LOVE is important. I have been thinking about and studying about what this LOVE looks like.
Let's start with loving God. I am supposed to LOVE God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. How can we LOVE someone we have never met? I know for me, I started to become filled with LOVE for God when I realized what He did for me. Do you know that after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden every single person who was ever born was doomed to hell? That is until God decided He LOVED His creation too much to let that happen and that is when He decided to do the only thing He could do and that was to offer the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. That sacrifice was Jesus! Jesus had to die an absolute horrific death and He did that in our place.
We should be the ones hanging from the cross because we are the ones who have sinned, but Jesus chose to go there for us. We all know this scripture, but have we really grasped its full meaning?
John 3:16 says For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
This makes me want to shout from the highest rooftop, "Thank you, Jesus! I LOVE you!" over and over again. It makes me want to LOVE everybody, but I have come to realize not everyone wants my LOVE. So I LOVE and I LOVE and I pray God will use the LOVE He has put inside of me to touch the hearts of people all over the world.
1 John 4:7-21 says 7BELOVED, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE. 9In this was manifested the LOVE of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11BELOVED, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we LOVE one another, God dwelleth in us, and his LOVE is perfected in us. 13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the LOVE that God hath to us. God is LOVE; and he that dwelleth in LOVE dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17Herein is our LOVE made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE. 19We LOVE him, because he first LOVED us. 20If a man says, I LOVE God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that LOVETH not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he LOVE God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, that he who LOVETH God LOVES his brother also.
1 John 5:1-5 1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that LOVETH him that begat LOVETH him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we LOVE the children of God, when we LOVE God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4FOR WHATSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, EVEN OUR FAITH. 5WHO IS HE THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?
I would have to say 'to love' is more important to God than anything else in the world. Will you ask God what this love looks like in your life? I know I have and I will continue to ask God to teach me to love more.
God bless you from Texas where triple digits are the norm of the day in July!
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