Take time to rest in the comfort of the Lord today.
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42 “What do you think of the Messiah?[a] Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit[b] calls him Lord, saying,
44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45 If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
In Matthew’s telling of the story, on this Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus was involved in a long series of disputations with Sadducees, lawyers, chief priests, elders, scribes, Pharisees, and their disciples. In each confrontation, he proves himself more careful, clever, and inspired than his adversaries. But before being silenced, a legal expert from among the Pharisees asks Jesus one last question in order to test him, “Which commandment in the law is greatest?” (22:36).
Jesus’ answer is classic. Loving God is the first thing, the most important thing. But, with it comes a result: to love God means that you also love God’s people. The key problem in interpreting this double commandment for our time is that we lose sight of the biblical meaning of love. Our culture has equated love with intense emotion. To love is a stronger response than to like. And, both are measures of a passive response to something outside us. We like chocolate: we cannot help ourselves. We love a movie: it entertains or moves us. We love a boy or girlfriend: they make us happy. We love a spouse: they complete us. But, biblical love is not passive and it is not strictly emotional. In the Old Testament, there are references to many kinds of love, but the love referred to here by Jesus is the love of Deuteronomy 6:5, the love of Yahweh. This love is far from passive. It is the active response of the faithful person to the love of God.
God, all we ask today is that we can love you with all of our heart and in doing so, may we love your children as well. Amen
Go with God!