Summary: Do we love God completely? How do we love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind? What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? Let’s examine the more complete love taught by Jesus in Matthew 22:34-46.
Do we love God completely? How do we love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind? What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? Let’s examine the more complete love taught by Jesus in Matthew 22:34-46.
Matthew 22:34-36 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
The Bible contains many excellent articles of faith, act justly (Micah 6:8), do what is right (Isaiah 56:1), seek God (Amos 5:4), live by faithfulness (Habakkuk 2:4). Jesus focused on loving God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and loving neighbor (Leviticus 19:18), summarizing the whole of Christianity.
Why such a question? When we teach what neither Jesus nor the Apostles taught, are we like the Pharisees and Sadducees? How can any church claim to be apostolic, yet teach dogmas not taught by Jesus or the apostles? If he was here on earth today, would we accept him?
Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.
The Shema Yisrael (Deuteronomy 6:5) teaches loving God with our entire heart. We are all guilty of not loving God completely and we ask for forgiveness. God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and is expressed in thankfulness, praise and singing.
Soul means psyche, breath or spirit. The soul thirsts for God like a deer panting for water (Psalm 42), passionate spiritual desire. Loving God with our souls, we love assembling with others who love God. We love God with our souls through prayer, Bible study and meditating on godly things.
We cannot love God and hate theology. Any study of God and His Word is theology. Some Christians teach that we don’t need doctrine; we just need love. But, love is the principle doctrine. An anti-intellectual bias contradicts the Bible, because Jesus taught us to love God with our minds.
Matthew 22:39-40 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
The world shows reckless disregard for others. Yet, as we appropriately bless others, crime and other evils should decrease. The Great Commandment is a version of the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). This is so fundamentally important that even non-Christian religions and atheists recognize it as valid (Romans 1:19-21)?
If we say we love God and hate our brother, we are liars (1 John 4:20). If we love our brother and disobey God, we believe a social Gospel (Hebrews 1:9). If we love God with our hearts but not our minds, we worship emotionalism. If we love God with our minds and not our hearts, we worship intellectualism.
The Messiah Riddle
Matthew 22:41-46 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
This is known as the Messiah riddle. Why did David refer to his son or descendant as “my Lord.” The Messiah is divine. Jesus did not answer the riddle. “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” Nobody could answer and no one dared question Him anymore.
Desire to be where God is worshiped. “My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord.” In the Valley of Baca, a place of weeping, worship is a refreshing spring (verse 6). In Zion (heavenly Jerusalem), we grow stronger. God’s action begins in the place of worship.
Agape does not always mean divine love. It can refer to a wrong kind of love. Men loved darkness (John 3:19), the praise of men more than God (John 12:43), and loved this world (2 Timothy 4:10). What kind of agape does God expect (1 Corinthians 13)?
Loving God is neither just emotional, nor intellectual, nor just spiritual, but it includes all of those dimensions. Jesus taught us to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.