September 22, 2023

Matthew 22:34–40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they
gathered together.
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

There are the legalists. Dot every “I” and cross every “T”.
In the Christian faith there really are many legalists. In school, I could never
get this right. How many laws were in the Torah? I probably would still get
this wrong. I could never distinguish between 613 and 615.
We tend to complicate life. In the United States, we have a constitution and
the “Bill of Rights.” (Are these still being taught in the schools?) We also have
a Congress, a Supreme Court, and a President to help us understand the ten
“Bill of Rights” and the Constitution, so over the last two hundred and
something years Congress has enacted approximately 200–600 statutes
during each of its terms so that more than 30,000 statutes have been
enacted since 1789. And I thought 613 was a large number of laws.
Thank you Jesus for your words of simplicity. When He was asked which was
the greatest commandment He answered with, “You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Period).
And then He said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This can be
scary! Some people’s love is narcissistic. They are super focused on
themselves. If we have problems with this second statement of Jesus we
need to go back to the first. The first commandment Jesus spoke of was:
are to give our total self to God. When we love God in this way, the second
statement of Jesus comes naturally. (This does not mean we overlook the sin
and wrong in others.) We cannot love God and not love others.
How much do you love God? You cannot hate, despise, or loathe others with
the love of God in your life.