The Two Greatest Commandments


                Then one of the scribes came and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, will all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.  And the second commandment is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  So the scribe said to him, “Well said teacher.  You have spoken the truth.” (Mark 12: 28-32.)


                A teacher of God’s law asked Jesus which commandment was the most important.  Jesus initially responded by saying, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  The Jewish people were unique in that they faithfully believed in and worshiped a single God; an almighty and unseen creator.  The surrounding pagan cultures believed in many Gods (the Greeks for example revered at least twelve primary deities.)  Jesus continued answering the question by declaring the true meaning and purpose of life; all humans were created to fellowship with the one true and Living God; to love Him with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.  The second law Jesus quoted commanded human beings to love each other in like manner.  The first and the second law are identical; for a complete love for God will lead to a supreme love for others; it is impossible to have one without the other [in 1 John we read, If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”

                One day I was studying at the coffee shop.  I decided to go for a walk in the alley behind the complex; as I walked I prayed and worshipped God.  I was practicing the most important commandment, which is to “love the Lord [my] God, with all [my] heart, with all [my] soul, will all [my] mind, and with all [my] strength.”  After I had finished drawing near to the Lord in prayer, I headed back to the coffee shop; suddenly, God gave me the opportunity to love Him by loving another human being.  I glanced over at the intersection, and spotted an accident; a truck had flipped over on its side.  I rushed across the street and approached the vehicle.  After clearing away some debris I discovered that a woman was trapped inside.  I got down on my stomach and slid my head and one of my arms between the concrete and the driver’s side window.  I looked up and saw the young woman hanging in place by her seatbelt.  As the tears rolled down her cheeks, I reached out and took hold of her hand.  I calmly and lovingly reassured her that everything was going to be okay.  After a short time, the fire department arrived, and I told her I would continue to pray for her; amazingly, she had the sense of mind to say “thank you.”  I walked away from the accident knowing that I had obeyed the commandments of the Lord.  My love for Him had created the desire and willingness to selflessly love another one of His children.

                There is one God, and His two greatest commandments are actually one in the same (love God and love others.)  Those who draw near to the Lord become like Him.  He is kind; He is compassionate; He is loving; He is merciful; He is truthful; and those who love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength are compelled to love others in like manner.  As you go about your day, connect with God in prayer; read the scriptures; cherish His words and keep them in your heart; contemplate the meaning of His statutes, and think upon His commandments continually.  May obedience be your goal, and faithfulness your foundation.  If you make God the priority in your life, then you will possess a supernatural love for others; a love that is unfading; a love that can never be denied; a love that can only come from the one true and living God.

                “Lord Heavenly Father we desire to draw near to You; fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  May our hearts and minds be completely devoted to You and to others.  Give us opportunities throughout the day to express our love for You, in the lives of all those we meet.  Use us Lord to remind the world of Your goodness and mercy.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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