Summary: This sermon uses a unique prop to help people understand the two great commandments

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The Greatest Commandment?

[ Pegology ]

Matthew 22:34-40

[[[Turn in your bible to Exodus 20. In the pew bible it is on page 66. ]]]

A group of Pharisees came to Jesus one day and asked, "Which is the greatest commandment?"

You and I would think that was a fair question.

And of course, because we are Christians living in a Christian

nation raised by Christian parents in a Christian church ... we

know the answer.

Any Jew knew the answer. It was a verse they had committed to

memory since a toddler ... Deut.6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

The problem the Jews had was how they saw the commandments of God… as separate, independent, stand-alone laws

Today I want to make a point for you and I will do it with a powerful object lesson

Here I have two windows… one with individual, separate panes of glass… the other with one large pane

The Jews saw the law like this window (multi-pane)… and believed they could break one law without affecting the others… like this (((break a lower pane)))

When I broke this pane did it hurt this one?


If that were true… then all we would need to do, in order for the window to be perfect, is fix the one pane

The window is nearly perfect except for one small hole

The Jews saw themselves this way…

nearly perfect except one (or 2) small broken pane

And of course, the law they were guilty of breaking was one of the least important, thus they were more perfect and righteous than someone who would break one of these ((point to higher panes))

We are guilty of the same self righteousness

As I said, that question would not seem strange to us… greatest commandment

But to Jesus it made as much sense as walking up to a mother with

twin boys and asking, "Which one do you love the most?"

That is because Jesus saw the commandments like this window

((hand the single pane window to assistant))

The Law of God is ONE

He is ONE God--- He has ONE WILL—and ONE law

But the Jews… and YOU and ME… make these superfluous divisions of the law, we divide it up into different laws, as we see fit… and of course the ones we break are the least important

((put strips of tape on the window to divide it))

But what happens if I break one of these “panes”?

((start to break one of the lower ones… but stop))

Let’s make it a really small and less grievous sin

((use tape to make it smaller))

And what if I break that command?

((break the window in that small area))

Now when I broke the window in that small pane, did it hurt the glass in this pane ((point to pane next to the break))


Pull of the tape and say “THE WHOLE WINDOW IS BROKEN”

(((Send assistant to get heart prop)))

The Pharisees wanted Jesus to say that the laws they kept and would never break were the most important so they could feel justified.

Jesus knew that and would not be fooled or tricked into feeding their self delusions.

Jesus also knew they had another problem with keeping the law and he taught them a truth that I will illustrate with another powerful object lesson

(Use model of heart))) This heart represents your heart/life ... your relationship to God.

(Show the commandments))) These are the commandments of God ... things he wants you to incorporate into your heart.

The reason they wanted to know that some laws were more important and some less egregious was because they COULD NOT KEEP THE LAW

They tried but they failed

(((try to put commands on the heart and let them fall off)))

They wanted to not have any other Gods

Not tell lies

Not covet

Ant they genuinely tried BUT COULDN’T

So they honestly wanted to know which ones were most important so they could be sure not to break that one.

You have heard that they asked what was the most important commandment and Jesus actually gave them two

1. Love God

2. Love Others


Jesus did not give them one or two of the commandments

Which one of the commandments is “Love your neighbor as


For Jesus it was IMPOSSIBLE to rank order the commandments



Jesus told them, you don’t need a rank order of the commandments… you need help to KEEP the commandments… then you will not have to worry about which one is most important or most offensive to God… you can keep them all

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