Summary: The job of a Christian is to love everything that God loves.

In A Nutshell

Matthew 22: 34 - 46

Intro: A story is told of a rather stout lady with wild hair who came storming into the County Clerk’s office. She slammed the door and thrust a piece of paper at the clerk saying, “Did you or did you not issue this license for me to marry John Jones?” The clerk answered, “Yes, why?” “Because he has escaped and I want to know what you plan to do about it!” --- Would you agree that story is an unusual take on LOVE?

I This passage from Matthew is about love. The GK word used here for love is ??ap?? / agapao.

A Let’s back up a bit and look at the beginning of the passage. Vs. 35 “One of them, and EXPERT IN THE LAW, tested him with this question:” (an expert in the law / lawyer / ??µ???? / nomikos

B “Tested” / pe????? / peirazo / only the devil and the Pharisees are the subject of this verb in Matthew. It usually connotes a hostile approach to questioning.

C There were at the time of Jesus 613 laws in the traditions of the Pharisees. So this “lawyer” is pushing Jesus to choose ONE!

II The challenge put before Jesus is to “PUT IT IN A NUTSHELL.”

A When I hear that expression I think of Mr. and Mrs. Tarney, neighbors when I was a child. At Christmas, they always decorated a Christmas tree with walnuts and inside the placed various amounts of money, inviting the neighbors to come take a “nut”.

B There was always something of value in each nutshell. It was a simple way of giving to others a gift with value.

C The lawyer encourages Jesus to put choose what he felt has most value for others.

III The greatest commandment Deut. 6: 5 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” / Lev. 19:18 - “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

A Therefore, according to Jesus, the aim of all 613 laws is to orient one’s entire life toward God.

B To love as God love is to love everything and everyone because one cannot love God without loving what God loves.

C In VSS. 41 – 46 exposes the Pharisees as inadequate interpreters of scripture and to present Jesus as the victor in the disputes with the Pharisees.

Concl: At some point in your life you may have asked yourself, “What’s the point of my existence? What is most important? When life is falling apart, what is the point of life and living? --- In a nutshell, the answer is LOVE. Love or God and love of neighbor.

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