Two more minutes with King of the Mountain (part 4) – Matthew 22:34-40 . . .
“Love your neighbor as yourself” (22:39) – This was not the first time Jesus had been asked “what mattered most.” In Luke 10:25-29, another Lawyer came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gave the same answer He provided in Matthew 22:34-40 (quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 reminding them to love God completely and love others consistently.) Upon hearing this answer, though, the Lawyer followed up by trying to limit the consistent love Jesus commanded and the Law required, by asking “Who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29). Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), defining our “neighbor” as basically ANYONE we come into contact with.
So the “Great Commandment” is defined as loving God completely, and loving ANY WE COME INTO CONTACT WITH consistently. That standard is SUPER HIGH, isn’t it? How much easier the standard would be to simply ask us to attend church, give a certain percentage, or read our bibles every day. The standard is SO MUCH HIGHER . . . so high, when measured against it, we all fall short (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, though our sins are many, His mercy is more!!
“Love” and “Love” point more to a relationship, than a religion. I LOVE that Jesus describes the “most important thing” in relational terms, not religious terms. We are to choose to love God and commit to Him completely. We are to choose to love others and consistently seek to serve their needs. Relationships with God and His children are at the forefront of what matters most. Christianity is not about me . . . it is about He and we! We are called into a committed “marriage” with God, not just to “date” Him. He loves us and pursues us and invites us into a relationship with Him and His children forever.