My chronological Bible combines the teaching of Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34 into this:
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer (concerning resurrection), he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
It’s not often Jesus is impressed with the answer of another. He was impressed because the teacher understood that loving God and loving others was more important than sacrifices and offerings.
We can live a moral life and completely miss loving others. We can put our time in at church and neglect a lot of people outside the walls of our congregation.
The parable of the good Samaritan shows the priest and the Levite (two moral men) walking past the man in need.
I can avoid the news, especially that heartbreaking news about people living in poverty, or children being sold into sex trafficking, or the disabled being abused in my own community, numbing myself with the lie that I can’t do anything to stop it.
I pass judgment on the child who is prone to disobedience or annoying behavior instead of loving them and meeting them with grace.
I let political arguments put walls between people I should be working with and become the reason I quit talking to others.
Where is the love that surpasses experience, disagreement, and my own arrogance to reach another?
It’s found in Christ. He didn’t mind talking to the outcast by the well and often found himself in the homes of “sinners.” His abundant love was available for whomever was ready to accept it.
Messy love can only happen with a dose of the Holy Spirit working in and through me. I want to be in the thick of God’s rule not only in my heart, but in my little section of earth, too.
Article was originally posted to biblemoms.wordpress.com. Reposted here with permission.
Author: Amber Swenson
Amber has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Literature. She has authored four books; two of them (Bible Moms and The Whisper Theory) are in print and two (The Bread of Angels and Ladies of Legacy) are in various stages of publication. Both her Bible studies and her novels are written in an effort to bring single, married, young and older women to a closer relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ. She also authors a weekly blog found on facebook under "Bible Moms" or at "biblemoms.wordpress.com".
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