Love God. Love others.
”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.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“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: 28-34
Jesus playing Tennis
- Like in a game of tennis, Jesus is trading shots with the Pharisees and teachers of the law in the part of Mark’s gospel where we find ourselves.
- Jesus is in the final part of his ministry, He has arrived in Jerusalem and it won’t be long before His arrest. Until that time, Jesus spends His days teaching in the Temple.
- If you look over the previous couple of chapters you will see the chief priests and teachers of the law questioning the authority of Jesus, Him being asked about paying taxes and about resurrection.
- They are attempting to catch Him out – trading shots with Him hoping that they will catch him out, finding a shot He won’t be able to hit back, in order that they might arrest Him.
- But Jesus counters their arguments with His wisdom and insight.
- When asked what the most important commandment is, Jesus is clear.
Love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbour as yourself.
Simple but difficult.
- Loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength is a massive thing to try and do and will probably take each of us more than a lifetime to get right but it is how God intended us to live, it requires our whole being and that is how it should be.
- Loving our neighbour as ourselves is equally difficult but in Jesus we have an example of how to treat other people as He shows us and teaches us – think about the woman at the well, the tax collectors, the woman caught in adultery, in dealing with His disciples after they betrayed Him, to name just a few.
Jesus demonstrates love.
- Jesus not only does gives us an example of how to live, he actually demonstrates His love for us by dying for us
- He says in John’s gospel ‘greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend’ and He does this first so that we can have forgiveness for all the times we fail to put God or our neighbour first but also so that he could send His Spirit to give us the power to try and love God and neighbour.
‘greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend’
- If we want to love God with our whole being, with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and if we are to have any chance at loving our neighbours as ourselves, we are going to need God’s help.
- Let each of us continually pray that God would show us how to love Him with our whole being and how to love our neighbour and may we have the courage to follow where He leads.
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