Tag: greatest commandment

The greatest commandment!

Scripture reading for February 25th:  Mark 12

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Mark 12:28-31  “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.”

Religious people like to discuss theology and God’s word.  It was no different in Jesus’ day. The teachers of this time had identified the ten Mosaic commandments and over 600 other commandment from the Scriptures.   Each teacher had their own interpretations of the various laws and scriptures.  One of these law teachers came to Jesus with an honest question:  “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  Jesus did not hesitate for a moment, but identified two that comprised the greatest commandment:  Love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus taught that these two summed up all the laws of God.  In loving God, we eliminate idolatry and giving God second place.  We won’t profane His name or His day–the Sabbath.  In loving our neighbor, we won’t murder, commit adultery, lie, steal or covet and we will honor our father and mother.  This complete love fulfills the law.

Observations for over-comers:  Love involves relationship–first with God and also with our neighbor and ourselves! Love never fails!  “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness of His own name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

 

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The most important commandment?

Scripture reading for March 5th: Mark 12:18-37, Psalms 48:1-14, Proverbs 10:26

Men are always trying to reduce the requirement to get into heaven to a simple formula.  They seem to want to find the line that God requires and then get as close to it as possible and still maintain their freedom to do as they please.  Instead we should be seeking complete obedience with joyful and thankful hearts!

“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.” (Mark 12: 28-31)

Jesus did not give this teacher one of the ten commandments that he may have been expecting.  Instead, Jesus gave this man the greatest commandment.  It is the law of love that God Himself set in place and which, if kept, can fulfill all the requirements of the ten commandments.  Loving God involves keeping the commandments. “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.” (John 14:21)  True love of God involves obedience to His commands. If we keep His commands, we will love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the first five of the ten commandments.  We will also love our neighbor as ourselves.  This is the second half of the ten commandments.

Jesus commended the teacher when he agreed with His instruction.  He told him that he was not far from the kingdom.  (Mark 12:34)  The last step needed would be to place faith in Jesus Christ.  Confessing our sins to God and asking Him for mercy would bring the needed cleansing.  The gift of the Holy Spirit gives us power to love God and our neighbor as God does.  Have you repented of breaking God’s laws?  Do you know you are in His kingdom (not just close)?  Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?

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Jesus, Man of Integrity!

Scripture reading for October 12th: Matthew 20-23

“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Him in His words.  They sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians.  “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.  You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.  Tell us then, what is your opinion?  Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:15-17)   Religious people were threatened by Jesus and tried to discredit Him.  They tried to attack Jesus’ integrity by using a loaded question.  They tried to get Jesus to say something that would enable them to arrest Him or charge Him with a crime against the Roman government.  The Herodians were Jews who were loyal to Herod for monetary gain.  They would have jumped on Jesus if he told people not to pay taxes.  The Pharisees were against the taxes to Caesar and were trying to pin unfaithfulness to God on Jesus.  They thought they had the perfect trap.

Jesus defused the trap with a simple illustration, asking them for a coin.  He asked them whose portrait and inscription was on the coin.  They replied that it was Caesar’s!  Jesus simply told them to give to Caesar what was his and to give to God what belonged to Him!  This simple answer defused their trap and left them amazed at His wisdom.

In our day and age, many people lack integrity.  They are not sure what they believe or why.  They are looking to find some fault in Jesus Christ or His word and continually offering arguments.  They hear the word of Jesus, but aren’t listening to believe and obey, but to criticize and tear apart.  Even when they are amazed, they go away to plot another attack or make excuses for rejecting the Savior.

Jesus gave these same Pharisees the answer to their question concerning the greatest commandment.  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39)  Jesus told them the simple requirements of God were found in loving relationships.  All the Law and Prophets were based on these two.  Love with integrity describes our God!

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