12/18/22The Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-34)
We can see the Pharisees, Herodians and Saduccees working together to trap Jesus. In the midst of all this, there is a scribe, a theologian who studied and kept the word. Amazed at Jesus’ responses, he sincerely asks him, “which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus’ response is not something he made up, but from Deuteronomy chapter 6.
1. Love the Lord With All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength
The commandment that best summarizes all the commandments is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Yet, it is the hardest to keep. We are easily swayed and distracted. God needs to allow us grace and faith for us to love the Lord with all our heart. We think we need to memorize this rule and beat ourselves into submission to follow this rule. However, God has already given us the answer, the way for us to love the Lord. The commandment that seemed so impossible to keep is possible through Christ.
What does it mean to love God? How can we love God 24 hours a day? We love God by thinking of how God loves us. Loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength means to concentrate on God, thinking about how God loved us first. We were enemies, separated under curses and Satan’s authority. However, God provided a perfect way for us to be saved through Christ, whom He sent just as he promised. As we remember the greatest gift God gave us, let’s realize how much we are loved. This Jesus who died, and resurrected so we can meet God, is with us today with power. How can we say Jesus is the only way? It’s by God’s grace. When we realize how God loved us first, we can love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are accepted, recognized and loved by God. We belong to God as his children. Therefore, let’s freely enjoy His love by devoting our hearts to Christ by concentrating on his word.
2. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Jesus quotes Leviticus chapter 19. He says “love your neighbor as yourself”. Loving God and loving our neighbors are connected. You cannot love God without loving our neighbors. Then, what does it mean to love our neighbors as ourselves? Many Christians struggle with Evangelism. However, the bible says saving souls is loving God. Evangelism is God’s absolute plan, what God loves the most. We cannot love God without loving what He loves most.
3. Are You Near or In Christ?
The scribe agrees with Jesus, saying people are too busy keeping the law, giving burnt offerings and showing off. He says that loving the Lord and loving our neighbors was far greater. Jesus tells the scribe that he is near the kingdom of God. Let’s look at ourselves? Are we near Christ? Or in Him? So many of us think we live in Christ because we read the scripture or go to church on Sunday, but they are just near Christ. Let’s pray for ourselves, that we may be in Christ. When we are in Christ, God will make our lives into his masterpiece.