Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I can tend to be wordy in my story telling or explanation. I love the side stories that go along with the main plot. Yet, I love it when someone is able to sum up a huge issue, happening, or idea with a sentence or two. When I ran across the Greatest Commandment passage during my Time Alone with God (or as we call it at NMC Student Ministries, TAWG) when in college, something hit deep.
The two commandments resonated with me deeply...
1. Love God with everything you have.
2. Love others (Jesus defined "neighbor" pretty broadly in other passages) in the same way you should love yourself.
I've dissected this passage trying to learn the historical, textual, theological significance of it.
I've come to realize this passage is not a pathway to salvation but a call to godly and holy living.
I've wrestled with what it looks like to love your neighbor without loving your neighbor's sin.
Ultimately, what continual blows me away is the deep truth of verse 40... if these two commandments were a coat hanger, you could hang every other commandment on one of them. So, if I can nail these two commands, I can nail the whole of scripture.
I try to make it a point to pray with or over my kids nightly. One key phrase I pray over them, or that Katylynn will now pray out loud, is, "God, help (Katylynn/Moses) to learn how to love you and love others."
When asked for a "life verse," I rarely quote this one, because it's a passage and not a verse.
Matthew 22:37-40 is a "life verse" for me that I'm praying to be a life verse for my kids.