Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had developed a system of 613 laws. They identified this number of laws in the first five books of the Bible and divided the list into two categories: those commands in which God told the people to do something (248 laws) and those that prohibited the people from doing something (365 laws). They also stipulated which commands were binding and nonbinding. Then they spent a lot of their time debating whether their divisions and rankings were accurate.
In order to test Jesus (they really wanted to humiliate him), they got one of their smartest men to ask Jesus to weigh in on the debate of determining the greatest of God’s commandments. It was easy for Jesus to answer. God’s will is for people to love him and for people to love others. All of God’s commands are fulfilled by love.
This kind of love is not something we formulate on our own, though. The love God commands us to express toward him and others flows out of the relationship that we have with God through faith in Jesus. When we come to know the love of God that moved him to send Jesus to rescue us from eternal death, the Holy Spirit empowers us to love God for all that he has done for us and motivates us to express our love for God by loving others.
How can you demonstrate your love for God today? How can you demonstrate love for the people around you today? God give you the wisdom and willingness to do both!
Holy Spirit, fill my heart with the knowledge of God’s saving love through Jesus, my Savior. Help me to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind, and love others as myself. Amen.