Loving God, Loving Each other. Matthew 22:34-40
The Greatest Commandment
......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.”
We must love God with our entire being-our heart, soul and mind. Jesus followed it with, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Before we can love our neighbor, we must love God first. At the same token, we cannot say that “we love God” and not love our neighbor (especially fellow Christians).
How do we show that we love God? John 14:15 states “If you love me, keep my commands.” and the greatest commandment is what we just read and again on John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
The Pharisee however was not done with his questions, as should someone too who is truly wanting to find out the truth. He followed with a question; “who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-29. Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Despite of the “hatred” between their races, the Samaritan had compassion to his “enemy” the half dead Jew on the road. While two Jews of “noble” or “holy” positions ignored their brother through, “passing on by the other side.”
Have we, or are we guilty of the same act? Ignoring a hurting fellow christian while we “pass on the other side.”? If so, why? Is it because we have other important things to do or the hurting christian will only slow us down or drag us down? The Samaritan applied his first aid, “wine and oil.” Commodities that are expensive to his enemy. Carried the Jew on to his donkey while he walked to the Inn. The distance was not mentioned but we all know that when we “help” someone, it hurts and it takes a lot from us. Whether physically or at instances, financially. Both of which the Samaritan experienced here. Most of all, he did it to an enemy.
We then need to see and review what the definition of “Love” is according to the Bible. Paul did it for us to his first letter to the church of Corinth. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
While this verse is highly used during weddings, it must be said that the main intention is for us people at church. This is how we should love each other. That despite what “spiritual gifts” we may possess, we must have love. Love never fails.
In Luke 6:31-35, Jesus tackles the “Golden Rule” set by Confucius and totally sets a “higher bar” for us Christians by saying, “32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Bar was raised. While the Golden Rule comes “natural” to anyone (returning how others are treating us whether it’s good or bad.), Jesus said, “but love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” Only a true believer can do this because this is the “supernatural”.
Loving our enemies require God’s love, not ours. Luke 6:36, states, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
We are told not to “Judge” others in Matthew 7:1-5. We tend to “judge” other believers when we think and feel “righteous” or “proud” of our own self. We see the prayer of the tax collector being the one heard and being the one justified verses the prayer of the self-righteous Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14.
We are reminded that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” in James 4:6 and
Luke 18:14 “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
We are reminded that we should forgive our brothers “seventy times seven” times in Matthew 18:21-33 as God has forgiven our debts. The Parable of the Unmerciful servant shows us the ugliness of an unforgiving heart while we received forgiveness for all our debts to God. Every believers knows of John 3:16 but not as many know of 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
While no one is asking a believer to do for another, it is rather “living” for other believers. Forgiving each other and with forgiveness comes love. Being united, one.
We cannot have love without forgiveness and there is no real forgiveness without love.
As Jesus prayed for our unity as believers in John 17:20-23, He also made it clear that through our “testimony” of loving each other, it is how the world will know that we are His disciples. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35. (The end)