34 The Pharisees heard that the Sadducees weren’t able to answer Jesus. So the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them was an authority on the law. So he tested Jesus with a question. 36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the most important commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5) 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) 40 Everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets is based on these two commandments.”
Jesus faced a continual barrage of questions from the religious leaders of his day. Here, he is contending with two rivals – Pharisees and Sadducees. You can almost sense the gloating of the Pharisees because Jesus had skilfully answered the question of the Sadducees. They knew they could do better, so they selected an “expert in the law” whom they were convinced would silence Jesus.
What they did not realise was that “the law” was more about relationships than legalism. Jesus was brilliant in his answer to their question about what was the greatest commandment. What did they expect? They failed to understand that Jesus had authority to make a pronouncement so profound that they missed its significance.
In summing up the Law he laid the basic foundation for life in his Kingdom. Love God absolutely, and love your neighbour. They were two inseparable principles which had nothing to do with religious laws or standards. What Jesus said has never been revoked, so that, today, they are the principles by which we live our lives as citizens of God’s Kingdom. We do well to embrace them as the basis of our lives.
Lord, I praise you that you have laid down this foundation for my life in you. I honour you as my King , and pledge my allegiance to you. Holy Spirit I ask you to ensure that these principles shape my relationships in everyday life.
Written by Keith Bennett