ABOVE ALL, LOVE
Lord, I love and worship You and only You.
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)
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“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus, / vast, unmeasured, boundless, free, / rolling as a mighty ocean / in its fullness over me”(Samuel Trevor Francis, 1834–1925).
What a marvelous question the teacher of the Law has asked Jesus those many years ago (28). Jesus’ answer to that question prompts us to meditate on the love of God. His answer causes us to step back from all the detail and remember that the theme of our faith is love. God is love. His whole basis for creating us, saving us, relating to us, is love – and perfect love, at that (1 John 4:7–12,18). Moreover, God’s desire regarding us, the thing that He wants above all, is that we love Him in return.
Like the teacher of the Law, we will undoubtedly agree that Jesus’ answer to his question was very good. The challenge inheres, perhaps, in the recognition that the love God desires from us is total: He longs for us to love Him with our all (30). “God’s wholehearted love must not be answered in a halfhearted manner” (Hendriksen,1975, p493). How have you responded to the perfect love of God? Are you able to say that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (30)? It is likely that we all fall short of that glorious standard. We need not despair, but rather meditate again on God’s great love and pray that we may know the heights and depths of that love (Eph 3:14–19) and that the Lord increases our love for Him.
For when filled with a wonder at God’s love and committed to love Him first and fully, out of that will flow an ability to love our neighbor as best we can (31).
Use the verses referenced, or others, to reflect on and bask in God’s love. Turn them into prayers. Seek ways to demonstrate your love to God and others through action.
Lord, teach us to love our neighbor the way You do.