Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40).
Jesus simplified the 613 commandments found in Scripture with just one commandment: To Love God and love neighbor. How could just one rule fulfill the entirety of God’s Law?
Loving God With All Our Heart, Mind, Soul, And Strength
If you love God, you will not place any other idols, such as your self-image, money, or work, as greater than the Lord. If you love God, you will remember to keep the Sabbath holy. When you love God, your vertical relationship is healthy and free from breaking any of the other decrees because “love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).”
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
Furthermore, your vertical relationship with God directly affects your horizontal relationship with others around you. For example, if you love God with all your heart, you will not be tempted to steal, murder, covet, or dishonor others. By cultivating the Spirit of God through worship, the Holy Spirit will enable you to supernaturally obey all these rules and regulations.
The Law And The Gospel
Does that mean the law is nullified and useless? Not at all. God’s commandments are our schoolmaster; pointing us to Christ that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). When Jesus replied to the religious leader, he never disregarded the commandments of Scripture. Instead, he simplified them into one statement that would be the foundation and summation of what God requires.
When Jesus walked the earth, he healed the lame, gave eyesight to the blind, and fed the outcast and needy. He demonstrated unconditional love through action. He didn’t just teach on it; he truly lived by it.
Jesus also took His relationship with God seriously. When he was just a boy, his parents got worried because he had left his home in order to commune with His heavenly Father at the synagogue. He told them: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house (Luke 2:49)?”
Imitate The Ministry of Jesus
Moreover, when Jesus started his earthly ministry, there were times when he would get away from the crowds in order to spend quality time with the Creator. If he didn’t commune with God and cultivate that relationship continuously, he wouldn’t have been able to pour out his heart and soul into others.
This is a good reminder for us. If we truly want to love our neighbors, we need to spend time with God. If we do not read our Bibles and pray to our Heavenly Father to cultivate the Spirit, then our relationship with others will suffer. We need the fruit of the spirit in our lives in order to bless those around us. This only happens when we spend quality time with God.
Article written by Chad A. Damitz