Summary: Hometown. Comfortable confines. Known streets. Familiar sights. Our people. Our mission field? Our challenge? Our assignment?
Pt. 2 - Loopholes
Apathy. The word is defined as and literally means "without feeling". Little or no concern. From the Greek it perhaps carries the most revealing and what should be the most frightening definition for us today . . . Without passion! We have been confronted with the fact that is absolutely unacceptable to call ourselves Passion and not live up to the standards that this name demands. We must uproot and abolish apathy in our personal and corporate lives.
It is obvious that apathy is at epidemic levels and perhaps one of the greatest issues of our day. However, it is also obvious that apathy is not a new malady. This is an old and reoccurring sickness. Jesus came face to face with apathy on regular basis. There are two very specific and similar conversations that pulled the covers back on the deep seated apathy that existed in the hearts and lives of the church people of His day.
Text: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
The religious leaders of the day. Those who were supposed to be the closest to God. Those who were supposed to be earnest in their desire to know God and to make Him known rather than asking out of sincere motives or for the purpose of acting on the given answer ask for the purpose of tricking Jesus. They ask Jesus to summarize the law in hopes that He would speak against the law and therefore be punished by death. Jesus outflanked them and in doing so in His answer He provides an equation for following our Father in obedience. He says that we must love God with everything that we have and that that type of love will manifest itself into action towards our fellow man whom He calls our neighbor. Then He applies a measurable standard to that action. We are to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves.
Jesus doesn't even call us to the the highest standard that He could have. He could have said love your neighbor as much as God loves them. No He says love them as much as you love yourself. In that brief confrontation, Jesus attacks apathy. He let's these religious folks know that loving God isn't the only obligation of the believer. Instead our love for God is the launching pad into doing something tangible for our neighbor. How important is this to Jesus? Of all the tenants of the law. Of all the divine revelation He could have shared. With His knowledge of the Father's heart He declares that our love for our neighbor is second only to loving God himself. That is serious stuff! So serious that He goes so far as to say that all the other commandments and law hinge on these two things.