Commands of Christ: 61

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”  Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:28-31

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”  He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,  and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,  “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him,  “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

According to Jesus, this command, know as the Great Commandment, summarizes God’s revealed will in the Old Testament.  That is an impressive statement.  Jesus tells us in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17-20, that following Scripture is a serious issue which His followers should pay close attention to.  In its Old Testament context, this is the command which God’s people were commanded to be in constant awareness of.  They were to speak of this constantly in their conversations at home and outside.  They were to put reminders on their clothing and their doorposts to continually make them aware of it.  This was the defining characteristic of their lives in every activity at every time.  It needs to be the same for us today.