“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

The Greatest Commandments

(Please read Matthew 22:34-40)

October 11

Jesus was not just offering a summary of all the commandments here, for he clearly stated, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (NAS). The foundational commandment underlying the whole structure of redemption and salvation is to love God. Above everything else, God desires and demands that his human children love him completely.

To love God totally is to focus our lives on him, give our hearts and souls to him, and have our minds continually fixed upon him. Our thoughts, speech and work should bring honor and praise to him.

We’re all fellow travelers from time to eternity, made by the same Creator and offered the same hope in Christ, so there are obvious and practical reasons to love one another. But our need to treat others well goes far beyond just the practical; it is a commandment of the Lord, the second greatest, in fact. Jesus showed us how to go about it, in his Golden Rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NIV). And his parable of the Good Samaritan provides a demonstration of that rule in action (see Luke 10:25-37).

One caution should be observed in reading the Greatest Commandments: They are the greatest but not the only commandments. We are expected not only to love God, but to serve him; not only to love our neighbor but to serve him as need be. Salvation requires doing as well as loving. May our love lead us to happy and fruitful service in the Lord.

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