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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36–40, NIV.
Isn’t it ironic that the two greatest commandments are not listed in the Ten Commandment? However, these two great commandments that Jesus declares encapsulate those found in Exodus 20.
The first four laws given in Exodus 20 are to strengthen our relationship with God and the remaining six laws demonstrate how we are to interact with our neighbor.
Notice how none of the 10 Commandments tell us to love ourselves, which is contrary to what the world teaches.
2 Timothy 3:1–2 accurately states, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud…” This is not to say we are to despise ourselves, scripture teaches against that, but the law teaches to love our neighboras ourselves.
More Than A Feeling
Our culture refers to love as a feeling. However, in Biblical culture, love is more than a feeling and it is represented as an action. We are commanded to love without restraint.
No one feels like loving their enemy. In fact, loving your enemy fights against the DNA of our flesh, making this act of love supernatural.
Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” This is a powerful, but difficuly command to live by—oh, to be like Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love you with every aspect of my life and every part of my being. I do not want You to just be my number one, but I desire for You to be my only one. Help me to love like you love and teach me how to love those who hate and persecute me. Let me see beyond peoples’ hardened exterior so I can grasp the pain that encumbers them.