“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus 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 first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat 22:36-40)
In His response to the question, Jesus supplies another summary of the message of the law of God: be loving. “Love the Lord your God . . . love your neighbor.” Jesus then revealed that “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Every command in the law of God is related to one of these two commandments.
“Love the Lord your God.” The primary demand of the law is an all-out love relationship with the Lord God Almighty. God is to be loved “all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” From the depths of our being, love is to be flowing out toward the Lord. In every expression of our personality, love is to be poured out toward God. In every thought that occurs in our minds, love for God is to be the motivation and the content. Any aspect of life that does not indicate a comprehensive, unrestricted love toward God is in violation of His law.
“Love your neighbor.” The secondary demand of God’s law is an unselfish love toward every other person. We are to love others as ourselves. Some have wrongly used this phrase to urge people to obey an imaginary third commandment: “We need to learn to love ourselves”?! No, Jesus said there are only two commandments here. This second one is a call to give others the consideration and care that we all have given to ourselves all of our lives. Jesus later intensified this second command by saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you” (Joh 13:34).
Dear Lord God, I bow before You as the God of infinite love. I have come to love You, because You first loved me. Yet, my love for You is so feeble in light of what You deserve and what You command. O Lord, my love for others is so often diminished by my own selfishness. I humbly ask that You would work in me a more profound love for You and a more selfless love for others, in Jesus name, Amen.
Copyright © 2004 by Bob Hoekstra. Used by permission. All rights reserved.