THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
After the Pharisees and Herodians asked Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar or not, the Sadducees challenged Jesus about the resurrection because they did not believe in the resurrection. Now, the Scribes, also known as the expert or the teacher of the Law, challenged Jesus with the Law. The main job of the Scribes was to reproduce the Old Testament by copying them through handwriting. As they copy the Old Testament, they diligently study the Scriptures (Old Testament). As a result, they became experts in the Scriptures. To test Jesus, the Scribes asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. Jesus answered, "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." When the Scribes heard Jesus' answer, they agreed with Jesus and added that loving God and others was better than burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus heard the Scribe's reply, Jesus told him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After this, no one would dare to ask Him any more questions (Mark 12:28-34).
The Scribes asking Jesus questions about the greatest commandment were too close to salvation, but they were far away because of their unbelief. They knew the Scriptures, but they refused to believe in Jesus. The Scribes were correct when they added that loving God and others was better than burnt offerings and sacrifices. The Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees relied on burnt offerings and sacrifices to take care of their sins before God. They believed that they could do whatever they wanted as long as they offered burnt offerings and sacrifices to God, and they would be forgiven of their sins. Not so according to the Old Testament. The Old Testament stated that loving God and others was better than burnt sacrifices and offerings.
As children of the living God, our love for God and others are better than what we do or give to God. So how do we love God and others? We love God through our adoration and obedience. Adoration means we want to be intimate or near to God through praising and worshipping Him and seeking His presence through our prayers and studying His Word. Loving others means being kind, forgiving, and patient with others. We treat others just the way we want to be treated. Let us not be the religious leaders. They knew about the Scriptures but did not love God or others.
Ask yourself these questions: What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love others? Is knowing about God through the Bible enough to be saved? Why?
Write down all the worries you are facing today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, would you please touch and change my heart to love you with all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all of my mind, and with all of my strength? Please teach me to love others, especially those who are unlovable. Please soften my heart before you. Please forgive me for my pride and self-centeredness. May I walk before you and others in humbleness? In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.