LIVE TO LOVE
My Jesus, as I come before You today, I consciously lay aside any worries and other distractions. Speak to me.
Read Mark 12:28–34
The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
a Mark 12:29 Or The Lord our God is one Lord
b Mark 12:30 Deut. 6:4,5
c Mark 12:31 Lev. 19:18
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you know someone who is hard to love?
When we hear the question “which is the greatest commandment?” our first thought might be to attempt to rank the Ten Commandments. But that is not what Jesus does (29–31). In fact, you won’t find Jesus’ response in the Ten Commandments at all. He first quotes Deuteronomy 6:4, 5, while “love your neighbor as yourself” is taken from Leviticus 19:18.
In some ways it would be easier if the Christian faith were a list of clearly defined commands. If we could just go through the checklist each week and mark of the things we’d done, we’d know for sure how we’re measuring up. Keeping all the Jewish feasts and sacrifices was challenging and costly, but you could walk away knowing you had fulfilled your religious obligations.
Jesus’ emphasis on the two commandments He quotes is another way of saying that what God actually wants is relationship. In Matthew’s version of this event, Jesus adds that “All the Law and the Prophets” are summed up in these two commandments (Matthew 22:40). Yes, there were a lot of rules and regulations in the Old Testament, but fundamentally they were all about having only one Lord and loving Him with all your being, then loving others too.
How are you doing at loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? And what about loving others? Ask the Lord to highlight any areas in which He wants you to grow.
Father, these commands are so simple, but so difficult at times to live by. Change my heart so that I can love You with all I am.
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