The Greatest Commandments
Mike Knott of Mountainview Alliance shared with us at Fusion last night. Jesus spent much of his time teaching the people, usually in parables causing some people to understand what he was saying and some to not get it (usually that category was his own disciples). Through all this teaching their was on teacher of the law that started catching onto what Jesus was teaching so he decided to ask him a question:
There are 613 laws in the Old Testament and so the teacher of the law really wanted a good summary of the law that he would be able to share with others easier than trying to get them to memorize all 613 (something all the teachers, Pharisees, and Sadducees would have done). Jesus aptly summarizes it into two parts: loving God and loving your neighbors.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." The teacher of religious law replied, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoke the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other."
If we had to summarize what it meant to follow Jesus we would say it is all about proximity: being close to Jesus and being close to others. It is all about being in relationships. We have to get close with God and get close to people. At Creation we were in close proximity with God, with Creation, with others, and with ourselves but when Adam and Eve ate that fruit it led to a distance between everything. God's intention has always been proximity and so he sends Jesus to be the one who brings everything back together.
Jesus tells us to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Those four things make up who we are: what we like (heart); who or what we live for (soul); what we know (mind); and what we do (strength). We often compartmentalize these things. I like soccer, i do soccer, I know soccer, but I wouldn't say I live for soccer. God doesn't want us to compartmentalize with him. He wants it all and wants us to put all those areas together. Growing close to God is trying to figure out how we can love him in all those areas. I have to actually like God, no matter what setting I am in (work, school, home, church) i am living for God; I keep learning about God, and I keep living out my love for God by showing it to others.
We are also to love others as ourselves. We sometimes look at others and say "eh they aren't me so who cares." God says that they do matter and so you are to love them like you love yourself.
Here are some of the question we chatted about in small groups at the end that you can follow up with:
1. Which of those four areas is the easiest for you to fall into?
2. Which of those four areas is the hardiest for you to fall into?
3. What is a practical example of things that you do that can fall into each area?
4. Who is one person that comes to your mind that you think God is calling you love as yourself?