Loving God, Loving Each Other
Jesus tells us which is the greatest commandment.
A poster with "Classroom Rules"
"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.' Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)
Rules are very important, aren't they? Whether you are at school, at work, or play there are rules that you are expected to follow. In just about every classroom that I have ever been in, there is a poster on the wall like this one with a list of rules that the teacher expects the students to follow. (Read the rules to the children.)
I think that is a pretty good list of rules, don't you? Which one of these rules do you think is the most important? (Allow some feedback.) Which rule do you think your teacher would think is most important? Well, if you were to ask me, I would say that the most important rule is "be kind and respect one another."
The people in Jesus' day had to follow rules too. One day a lawyer asked Jesus, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment?" How many commandments there are? There are ten, aren't there? Well, there were ten that Moses wrote on the tablets of stone and we call them the Ten Commandments, but the Jews actually had 613 laws. There were 248 dos and 365 don'ts. Wow! That is a lot of dos and don'ts isn't it? Can you imagine trying to remember all of them? Six hundred thirteen laws! Which one do you think Jesus said was the most important? Listen to what Jesus said to the lawyer.
Jesus answered him, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,' this is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." In other words, Jesus was saying that if we could keep these two commandments, we would not have any trouble keeping the others.
It isn't easy to keep the commandments, is it? We need God's help each and every day. Let's pray and ask him to help us to love as he has commanded us.
Dear Father, help us to love you with all of our heart and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Amen.