Passion Week – Tuesday
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NLT
On Monday of Jesus’ Passion Week, He entered the Temple in Jerusalem and cleared it of moneychangers. The merchant’s motive was to place a monetary value on worship.
Jesus’ message is that worship is a free expression of the heart.
With the Temple clear of detractors, the Messiah enters again on Tuesday. The day before he cleans out the Temple . . . on this day, He communicates truths of the Kingdom.
In an effort to discredit Jesus, the religious leaders inquire which of God’s commandments is the most important. Their desire is to attack Jesus’ teaching, not ascertain His truth.
Loving God. The Pharisees take pride in the precise and proverbial obedience the Law. They know the Ten Commandments. But they give just as much attention to over 600 traditional laws in the writings of Moses. The “letter” of the law becomes their priority. Living righteous becomes an obligation, not an opportunity. The Pharisees lose the perspective and priority of a passion for God. John illustrates, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” (1 Jn 4:18-19 NLT)
Loving Others. The second emphasis of Jesus’ instruction is equally important. Paul teaches, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” (Rom 12:9-10 NLT)
Loving God enables us to love others.
Loving God equips us to love others.
Loving God empowers us to love others.
And, loving others is evidence that we love God. Sunday Adelaja writes, “To reciprocate God’s love is to have the nature of love”.
Living In Love. C. S. Lewis writes, “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” We look in a mirror on the wall, we see what we have done. When we look in the mirror of God’s Word, we see what He has done for us, in us and through us. Dieter Uchtdorf reminds us, “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”
These two commands anchor all our convictions, all our commitments, all our conveniences, all our conversations and all our compassion.
Eugene Peterson in The Message gives an additional view of these verses, “Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” (Matt 22:37-40 MSG)
Love God . . . Love Others.