Covenant + Law

What are the greatest commandments?

One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all? ”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

First, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Bible is a huge book. Actually, it’s a huge collection of books: 66 to be exact. There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. That’s a lot of books spanning thousands of years with a variety of authors all inspired by God.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Does the Bible have an overall message or point?” Of course, we know it’s all about Jesus. But, if you were asked to summarize the Bible’s message, how would you do it? 

When Jesus walked this earth, He was asked this very question. 

A certain religious leader asked Jesus which commandment of the Old Testament was the most important one. And Jesus responded, somewhat surprisingly, with two commandments.

  1. Love God
  2. Love Your Neighbor.

Simple. Beautiful. Powerful.

But there’s one major problem, and it has to do with the second commandment and the definition of neighbor.

Surely Jesus doesn’t just mean our literal, next-door neighbors. And He probably doesn’t mean only those people we literally live close to.

It would be so much easier if He was referring only to those people we agree with, or the people we like. 

No. Jesus’ challenge is much bigger, much more radical. Jesus wants us to treat everyone, and even those people we don’t especially like, as our neighbors. And Jesus calls us to love them. And that love can only come from God.

Spend some time in prayer today asking God to give you a love for Him and for others. Ask Him for creative ways you can show the people around you who God is and that He would provide you opportunities throughout today.

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