The Greatest Commandment
By Ysrael Del la Cruz
GOAT (the greatest of all time) Every sport or athletic discipline has what is called the greatest of all time (boxing, baseball, basketball, football, etc.) People would debate who they think is the Goat in Basketball or football (Tom Brady)
The religious people of Jesus’ day got into arguments with him; they hated him. They always attempted to find an excuse to kill him. Jesus was a threat to them; on several occasions they would ask him questions trying to trap him in his words. But they could not outsmart the Son of God with their trick questions.
The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians all took their shots at Jesus with their seeking to trip Jesus or make him stumble in what he said.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. One of them, a lawyer (expert of the law) asked him a question to test him.
Notice this question is not asked by someone who genuinely wants to learn and gain knowledge. This is a question attempting to shame Jesus; attempting to find a reason to accuse him before the authorities. They had asked questions about paying taxes to Caesar and marriage and the resurrection just to see what Jesus would say.
Now a lawyer comes to test him.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? v.36 (Of all the commandments, which one would you say is the GOAT).
v.37 And 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. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The Greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.
The Heart: the center of our feelings, emotions, the desires that drive our actions.
Soul: the spirit, self, the energy, the breath of life.
The mind: will, our intellect, our thinking. (Loving God with our thoughts)
In other words, Jesus is saying the greatest commandment is to love God with everything we are. To love him with our feelings, emotions, actions, with every breath we take, with our will and the thoughts we think. We are to love God with every part of our being.
Loving God with all our being is the greatest commandment (v.38)
Jesus informed the lawyer of the second great commandment. Loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment.
Loving God and loving people as you would love yourself.
Loving people as you would love yourself. How? Treating others, the way you want to be treated.
John connects these two commandments 1John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
John tells us that we show we love God by loving people. IF we claim to love God but hate people, we are liars because we cannot love God if we do not love people. Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Jesus said that the whole law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matt.22:40) “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” NLT
Jesus is saying that if you keep these two commandments you are keeping the whole Law and the prophets. Jesus is saying that everything in the law and the prophets has to do with either loving God or loving people.
All the commandments and the laws deal with your relationship with God or your relationship with your fellow man. Loving God and loving people. When you look at the ten commandments, you realize that the first five deal with your relationship with God and the remaining five deal with your relationship with your neighbor.
As followers of Christ, we are called to love God with all our being and to love people as we would love ourselves. This is the fulfillment of God’s law and you cannot claim to do one without the other. Loving God and loving people work simultaneously, not sequentially.