Let’s start our “love talk” series by first revisiting the two greatest commandments in the Bible. We’ve heard about it many times in Sunday sermons or perhaps in Bible study. But let us see what else can we extr
act from it and how else can we show our obedience by practically applying it in our lives. I must admit, the insights I would share with you in this post are triggered by my partner in our Praise and Worship Team (Jake, who I know is just out there, reading some materials about humanity/theology/music/anything under the sun). Jake is currently studying in a seminary and taking up Theology. He’s very passionate about learning Christ’s life here on earth, his connection with humanity and society, and how we ought to live like him.
The two greatest commandments:
36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:36-40
Jesus straightforwardly answered the question. Love the Lord, and love our neighbor (as we love ourselves – guess this is the hardest part of it all). Easier said than done. But of the two, which is more emphasized in sermons or in bible studies? I guess it’s the first one. Love the Lord our God with all that we are. I won’t dare contest that, it’s Jesus’ words. Certainly, we should really love the Lord first by giving all of ourselves to Him, by presenting ourselves pleasing and holy to Him (Romans 12:1).
BUT, let us not forget the second one, or rather, the “second most important commandment” – to love our neighbors. Let us go back at how Jesus regard the first one: “this is the greatest and most important commandment”. And how did he regard the second: “the second most important commandment is like it“. Can we spell the difference here? Or is there any difference when it comes to the degree of importance? At first look, we might say that the first one is greater. I guess what Jesus meant by it is that we cannot do the second one if we couldn’t understand the act of doing the first. The act of loving our neighbor should come from a deeper essence of loving God. Remember what God said in Genesis 1:27?
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Humans are created in the image of God. I, you, our neighbors…we are created in God’s image. Therefore, if we love God, we ought to love our neighbors or others. We should see others from God’s lenses. People around us are created in His image. Therefore, the two greatest commandments should be considered equal. They are of equal importance. They complement each other. They testify to each other. A professing Christian cannot say that he loves God and yet hate his neighbors; nor can he say that he loves his neighbor but does not love God. It won’t work that way. We are therefore expected to obey those two commands.
Let us evaluate ourselves. Have we given so much importance to the “love the Lord” commandment without noticing that we neglect our brothers and sisters and other people? God wants us to demonstrate our love for Him by sharing love with humans like us. We are created humans. We ought to minister to humans. That is why God sent Jesus to become a man and dwell in us so he could show us the way, the perfect example of how to live like a man who does the will of the Father.
Let us reflect on this. How can we practically show love to our Lord by loving our neighbors? Perhaps, praying for strength for someone battling depression, giving a lil financial support to someone who needs to pay a hospital bill, helping a kid with his/her homework or project, friendly counselling, I’m sure you can think of many others. Please share with our readers by commenting on this post.
Let us meditate on what Jesus really wants us to do on Matthew 22:36-40. It’s surely more than attending Sunday worship service, more than attending bible studies and prayer meeting, much more than locking yourself into a prayer room for 5 hours, or singing worship songs all throughout the night. It’s more than that. God wants us to look at others and see Him in them. Love God, and love others.
- The Greatest Commandment and the Parable of the Good Samaritan
- What is the greatest commandment?
- The Greatest Commandment: The Very Heart of the Matter
- Loving God
- Why is Love Crucial to the Greatest Commandments
Next week, let us zoom in to Jesus’ life and how he has perfectly shown his obedience to this two commandments. What are the instances he showed love for God and love for his neighbors? And how can we practically apply it in our everyday lives? Tune in to this section, Christian Tagalog Talk
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