The Greatest Commandment
Jesus quotes one verse as the answer, but this verse comes in a context. Let us pause for just a moment and look a little beyond what is normally quoted. No wonder Jesus says this is the greatest command! Look at what the Jews were supposed to do with this truth.
The verse comes in a portion of Scripture known by Jews as the Shema (meaning Hear). Here is the passage:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What does this mean for us? Ought we to walk around with things tied to our head with passages of Scripture in them? Probably not. However, I think I can confidently state that this is probably a pretty important truth that we are supposed to keep with us continually and refer to frequently. As we go throughout our day, Is this truth constantly on our mind? If so - Fantastic. If, however, it is not, then let us repent and change this very day.
Let us come to life with this truth tied closely to our heart. Are our thoughts, actions, words, etc., reflecting a reality that we are loving our God with every fiber of our being? To answer honestly is to emphatically answer in the negative. What then? We cannot absolve ourselves for we are not able. We must turn to the command-giver who not only gave us this greatest command, but also died for us when we fail, and fail again, and again. We must confess our sin and know that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We must love this Grace and praise God unceasingly for it.
However, are we then to continue to sin that this grace may increase? May it never be! How can we who have died to sin continue to live in it? For if we have died with Christ we now have been raised with him. So then, consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ. What then? We must present our bodies as slaves of righteousness, resulting in sanctification and ultimately eternal life.
We have fallen terribly short, and we have confessed Christ as Savior for our failings; let us now follow Christ as Lord and present our bodies as instruments as righteousness. Make a change, this very day to begin to see some realm of your life better reflect this greatest commandment by Jesus. What does this mean for you in particular? I do not know. What I do know is that in Christ we are now able to follow Him and we must do so.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
In Christ alone,