One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31 NLT
According to Bible scholars the scribes taught that there were 635 precepts in the Law that a Jew was to obey. One of their favorite pastimes was to sit around and argue over which was the most important. It was a divisive topic and one the religious leaders obviously taught could put Jesus in a tough spot. In the great wisdom that Jesus possessed He chose to quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus taught them, and us, that the basis of the Law was love. Love God first, and then love your neighbor. When we have a true love for God, we will be filled with God’s love for us. This love with God will be our motivation to love others. The more we love God the more we love others. This kind of love is not selfish—we don’t love God for what we can get out of the relationship. Also, we don’t love others for what we can get out of them. It is a love that seeks the best for others. The kind of love Jesus talked about was not a love based on someone else’s performance. There are many who say, “I’ll love you if ….” Other people say, “I’ll love you until a better offer comes along.” God’s love for us is, “I love you!” He loves us when we don’t deserve to be loved. He loves us when we question whether we love ourselves. He loves us when we are good, when we are bad, and when we are in between. GOD LOVES US! This love should motivate us to offer this same kind of love to others. A love that has no exclusion clause.
Holy Spirit, please help me to accept the love of God and to respond properly to that love. Help me to be quick to love others.
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