The Greatest of All Commandments

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 first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
— Matthew 22:36-40

The Pharisees made it their job to test and try to setup Jesus. This story was no different. They sent an expert in the law to ask Jesus what the greatest of all the commandments was. If anyone could answer this question, surely the “so-called” Son of God could, right? As usual, what Jesus responded left everyone shocked.

Love God, above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself. That was it. What’s interesting about His response was that He said, “and the second is like it”, implying that both loving God AND your neighbor is of equal value. In other words, we can’t claim to love God if we can’t love each other first. Those two commandments summarize every application of all the commands in Jewish scripture. By obeying these two commands, we in effect fulfill them all. Isn’t that incredible?

Imagine what the Pharisees were thinking. A culture deeply rooted in the law and its “perfection”, they were expecting something more along the lines of “thou shalt not kill” or “thou shalt not steal”. Never love. As you pray today, search your heart and ask God to show you who you need to make amends with. Maybe you were hurt badly by someone you love, or maybe you hurt someone you never meant to. Pray that God gives you the courage to go out there and not only forgive but be forgiven.

Today’s Prayer

Father, I pray for the courage to ask forgiveness from those that I’ve hurt. I know from your Word that my relationship with you depends on my having a right relationship with the people you’ve surrounded me with. I will do as your Word has said because I believe that it’s the truth. I know that I’ll be blessed because of it. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray.