The Greatest Commandment

Matthew’s gospel records that a group of Pharisees got together to test Jesus. Their top expert in the law questioned Him: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36) Below is His answer.

Matthew 22:37-4037Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (NIV).

Christ’s command to love was not just the new command; it is the greatest. It’s not the only command; it is the fulfillment of every command. The New Living Translation says it like this: “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Simply stated: If you love God and others, you will automatically meet all the demands of the Law and Prophets. Loving people is the greatest thing you can do.

You can argue and deny this truth all you want with your words and lifestyle, but you’d still be wrong. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love” (ESV).

The kind of love He prefers and expects is no ordinary kind of love, though. Jesus actually coined a new term, agapé, in the gospels. It is God’s love for mankind, or divine love. It’s benevolent, unconditional, and free of emotion.

Madeleine L’Engle said it this way, “Agapé love is profound concern for the well-being of another, without any desire to control that other, to be thanked by that other, or to enjoy the process.” Sounds like Jesus to me, but does it sound like you?

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