Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV)
This section of Scripture is so profound, truly a turning point that threw the world into a paradigm-shifting revolution that has been paving roads to freedom since the very words escaped Jesus’ mouth.
This very same set of verses has been used to manipulate, slander Scripture, redefine grace, Jesus’ mission and the Bible as a whole. In today’s postmodern thought pattern, we hear, time and time again, that all that matters is that you love others and that you “love” God. However, this is a profoundly wrong interpretation of what Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees. These two Greatest Commandments were not a nullification of God’s past commandments in the Old Testament (Exodus 20), but rather a reminder from God’s Son that is intended to propel you into a deeper understanding of the powerful words of the Father.
What does true love mean to God? In John 14:15 we read, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments. (ESV)” Then we read in James 2:17, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, it is dead. (NIV)” Love, in its entirety, is a faith in the person–or God–you are choosing to love; it is a reliance and a deep dependence. We see that God’s Word says if you love Him, you will obey His commandments–this is what Jesus was reminding the religious leaders of. Then, we see that faith, a necessary cornerstone of love, without action or display is dead.
How do we love friends with the truest love? John 15:13 says, “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends. (GWT)” Give of yourself entirely, through your actions, words and relationships. The words “I love you,” just like unto God, are not enough to show true love to your friends and family. The truest love requires honesty, respect, faith, action and sacrifice.
Don’t allow Jesus’ words be a nullification of God’s holy commands in the Old Testament. Allow them to be a humble reminder of how to carry out your life in love–true love. Love God. Love people.
I leave you with this:
“Better is a poor person who walks in integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1 (ESV)