The Greatest (and Hardest) Commandments

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Matthew 22:34-46

Jesus says multiple times throughout the Gospels that the entirety of the Law and the Prophets can be summed up by: Love the Lord, and love your neighbor. All those rules in the Old Testament are simply an attempt to help fallen men do just that. We don’t always know how to love God or our neighbors, so God told us.

Now, you’ll notice Jesus does not simply say, “love God.” That’s not enough. He says to love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. Our love for God should not be just a passing fancy that we think of before bed. No! He should be in our hearts and minds at all times! Now I know that is easier said than done, that it’s hard to love anyone that much. But remember how when you first fell in love, you couldn’t get the person out of your head and you couldn’t stop smiling? That’s how it should be with God.

Nor does He simply say “love your neighbor.” We must love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. To think of their wants and needs as much as our own. To be working toward their happiness as much as our happiness. While Jesus says these are the two most important commandments, they are probably also the most difficult. This is hard. But these two commands are essential to being a Christian. Otherwise, how are we different than anyone else?

In this second little passage Jesus shows the Pharisees why the Messiah isn’t just another prophet, why He might be different than they are expecting. Jesus shows them that the Messiah can’t be just a man, that He must be the Son of God. While this makes perfect sense to us in the 21st century, this would have been more than a little shocking to the Pharisees. But there it is, grounded in the writings of David. And Jesus’s tough questions scared them away from ever trying to trick Him again! It’s little things like that which just make me chuckle. Jesus was so freaking awesome! I love that guy!

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3 Responses to The Greatest (and Hardest) Commandments

  1. Love the lord and thy neighbour in essence contains everything. If you truly love someone, you wouldn’t do anything to harm or upset them! Thanks for sharing this post. Excellent read. Please feel free to re-share your inspirational at Godinterest Dot Com. God Bless Your Ministry.


  2. Pingback: Faith of Heart, Not of Deeds | Understanding the New Testament

  3. Pingback: What Really Matters | Understanding the New Testament

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