One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘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 neighbour as yourself. ‘There is no commandment greater than these.”
I can’t seem to get away from the subject of God’s love this week and in particular those few verses. It keeps cropping up everywhere in the message on Friday night at the church youth group, on Sunday in the sermon and my daughter’s Sunday School class, then again in a book I’m reading (The Provocative Church by Graham Tomlin). Last night even while watching Flash Forward there was a guy talking about the love of God!
Specifically the message seems to be that to be truly human is to love God and to love other people because God loves us. In the beginning He created mankind to be loved by him and in return to love Him and the rest of His creation but because of sin we’ve abandoned that love for a life of selfishness and self-centred love. To be who God created us to be is to follow those two commands of Jesus; to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and to show his love to others by loving them as you would love yourself.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is God’s unconditional love, that he loved us first, while we were incapable of loving him so that we can learn to love him and in doing so share that love with those we come into contact with. In practice this should mean that in reflecting God’s love to others we reflect that image of God that was always meant to be a part of who we are as human beings:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…
Showing love and meeting needs in our community just as Jesus did and then using those acts of love to point people to Jesus as the way of Salvation.
I’ll probably post again on this subject as it’s likely to turn into the next sermon that I do.