Loving God and Pople
Jesus was asked directly which of the commandments was the most important, and His answer provides us with an excellent plan for living our lives while on this earth.
“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?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’” – Mark 12:28-31
Jesus quoted directly from two passages of the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 & Leviticus 19:18. When we read through the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, we find many “do’s and don’t’s”, but Jesus chose these two as the most important and the second-most important.
The man, who asked this question of the Lord, impressed Jesus with his understanding.
“‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 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.’ 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.” – Mark 12:32-34
Again the Old Testament is referenced as the man reflects on Jesus’ answer. “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6
The Jewish people at the time Jesus was on the earth had become more focused on following the law than they were on following the Lawgiver. The teachings of Jesus shifted the focus from rituals to relationships.
The concepts highlighted by Jesus in this moment of teaching weren’t new concepts, but they weren’t a point of focus by God’s people at the time. Jesus wanted to change that. God had always and will always want His people to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. He also wants us to love other people. The Lord wants us to show mercy and truly acknowledge Him in the way we live our lives, not just to practice a set of rituals.
This week as we continue our walk with Jesus, let’s show Him we love Him. How do we do that? He has told us.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15
He has also told us which two are the most important: to love Him with everything we have and to love other people, so let’s make loving God and people a priority in our lives.