TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
BIBLE VERSE(S) FOR TODAY:
Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Have you ever wished that you could boil the commands of Scripture down to a handful of “dos” and “don’ts?” Of course you have. The list of instructions that we are called to comply with can be incredibly overwhelming.
Fortunately, Jesus did just that. He boiled all of the commands of Scripture down to two commands.
In Matthew 22:34-36, we read about an expert in the law who came to Jesus. He wanted to embarrass Jesus in front of everyone by asking an impossible question.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” (Matthew 22:36)
This “expert” believed that he was boxing Jesus into a corner with this question. He suspected that regardless of how Jesus answered, He was going to divide the crowd. Virtually everyone had their own opinions about what the more important command was … and everyone’s opinion differed from everyone else.
So, what was Jesus to do? He could have refused to answer but that would have made Him look weak and indecisive. He had to answer. But how? What was the greatest commandment?
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
In saying this, Jesus took the hundreds of biblical commands and shrunk them down to two. Love God with everything you’ve got and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The word for “love” that Jesus used did not necessarily speak of the emotion. It primarily spoke of submitting oneself to someone else. In human relations, it pointed to the willingness to focus on the needs of someone else even if it meant personal sacrifice.
So, we love God by submitting ourselves to Him and serving / worshiping Him from our heart. We love others by submitting ourselves to them and providing for their needs, as we are led by God’s Holy Spirit, even if it means doing so will cost us.
But, notice the last verse. Jesus said that “the entire law and all of the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” That means that each of God’s commands are not whimsical. They aren’t a mindless assembly of “dos” and “don’ts.” They are based on the primary mentality of submitting ourselves to God and others.
Imagine, just imagine, what it would be like to be a part of a church (and a larger Christian community) where everyone obeyed these two commands! They sincerely loved and served the Lord and they were always putting others above themselves. Wouldn’t that be Heaven on earth?
Well, we can work for that today. On this day, ask God to help you grow in your obedience to these two primary commandments.