Matthew 22

Scripture

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Observation

Christ continues to teach in parables and the Pharisees continue to try to trip him up.  The first is the parable of the wedding feast – where He relates what’s available (heaven, eternal life), the rejection of Christ and the consequences (hell) and the chosen ones.  Then the Pharisees were trying to “trap him in his words.”  Jesus shuts ‘em down yet again (graciously of course) and amazes them with his response.  Then the Sadducees come at him with questions about marriage at the resurrection…and are left “astonished.”

With the Sadducees silenced, the Pharisees decide to test him again; and this is where we learn that “the greatest commandment in the Law” is to LOVE!  To love God with all our hearts, minds and souls…and to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

Understanding

Imagine if this was lived out fully…to make love our first priority.  To love God fully, wholly, with every bit of ourselves…and to reflect His heart for us as we pour out our love on others – our neighbors, friends, strangers, coworkers…

We’ve all heard the saying “love conquers all.”  I may be naïve to believe that is true; but I DO.  Although, I do think it requires a qualification –

God’s love

conquers all.  However, we can be a vessel for the outpouring of that love.    

It’s nice to imagine what that would or at least could look like, right?  But how do we move from a nice thought and into action?  How do we walk that out?  A few things come to mind…

  • I believe it requires discipline – discipline in putting God first in a world that would entice us to put pretty much anything else first…our favorite shows, material possessions, social media likes, work, our children/spouse, our dreams/desires. But all that other stuff falls into place when God is first.  Even if doesn’t look like what we envisioned, it somehow works and brings fulfillment in a way that no human orchestration of the same ever could. 
  • I believe it takes forgiveness – both embracing the forgiveness that has been so lavishly poured out on us and the freedom that comes with that AND forgiving others. [If you missed out on yesterday’s sermon on this topic, I recommend checking it out online!]
  • I believe it takes accountability and community – getting filled up, rested up and called out so that we can go into spiritual battle.
  • I believe it requires a reflection of God’s heart and the biblical description of love…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

  • I believe it requires trust and obedience. How else can we put God first unless we trust His heart for us, unless we are willing to obey even when we don’t understand. 

So…will you join me today in living out the greatest commandment?  Go love on somebody! <3

Life Application

God, I consider this to be my life statement, my mantra, my purpose.  I pray that it never becomes a cliché phrase but is always centered in YOU.  In my human capacity I may never be able to fully grasp the oh-so-perfect love you’ve given to me but, God, I pray my heart would be a reflection of your heart, my life a vessel for your use.  Lord, that as I intentionally love on people, that they catch a glimpse of you, feel your pull on their heart and, Lord, that they would turn to you.  Show me the ways that I can love you and love your people more today.

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei