Great Commandments

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandments, He responded with these words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). This was a brilliant answer. He was showing them that these two commands (the first from Deuteronomy 6:5 and the second from Leviticus 19:18) are the foundation upon which all the other commands of God are built. In other words, you could say that any command that the Lord has given in the Bible is an application of one of these two commands. They all have to do with loving God and loving other people. This love is an identifying marker of God’s people (John 13:35). We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Obedience to God is an overflow of our love for Him, which itself is an outworking of joy that swells up in us when we consider His love expressed to us in Christ. In other words, as we meditate on the Gospel we see God’s love for us and this produces in us the love and worship needed to follow Jesus faithfully. The Gospel fuels our love for God and love for neighbor. As a church we want to be known for love, a “cruciform” love (i.e., a costly and sacrificial love shaped by the cross of Jesus), and we want that love to be a reflection of Christ’s love.