Summary: What is at the center of Jesus's ministry? Many believe the center is Love.
The Center of Christ Matthew 22:34-40
• Jesus silenced the Sadducees is where are texts begins,
• Jesus enters Jerusalem, cleanses the Temple, heals the blind the lame and cause the dead to be raised,
• Pharisees and Sadducees cast doubt to the people about Jesus’s authority. If we would read the text in Greek the word for silenced would be muzzled.
• Jesus gives a horrendous claim “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!") and laments over Jerusalem in 23:37-39 ("Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!").
1. The Pharisees ask a question to trap Jesus The Pharisees gathered together, and one of them — a lawyer — asked Jesus a question to test him: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
• It’s a Difficult question. If you name one, you’ll be accused of ignoring others. If you say they all are great, you look weak for not answering the question.
• Jesus could have said that all 10 of the Ten Commandments were equally important. Or that the book of Leviticus was the greatest expression of God’s law. Or that the entire Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, contained the fullness of God’s commandments
2. Jesus Responded by giving us what we may say was at the Center of His thoughts
• Jesus response: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’”
• The Center of His Thoughts : “You shall love the Lord your God. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” he says, “hang all the law and the prophets” (v. 40).
• A preaching professor named David Lose says that “our Lord names his center” with this greatest of commandments. Yes, his center. Jesus shares with us “the center of his ministry, the center of his mission, and the center of the kingdom he has been sent to proclaim and build.”
3. One might say Jesus’s Center or His Focus is Love
• Lose the professor goes on to say “By naming his center,”, “Jesus reveals something not only about himself, but also about God.” Jesus is telling us that “God’s law, finally and forever, is the law of love. It is that simple … and that difficult, because loving others means putting them first. It means sacrificing. It means being vulnerable to the needs of those around us.”
• What a thought For Jesus and God the center is love. God sent him to be the Lord of love,
4. Jesus’s Center was Love It was His teaching Ministry
• He used the last days of his earthly ministry to communicate what love looked like.
• He told the crowds and his disciples that “the greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (23:12). You Pharisees give your tithes, he said, but you “have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (23:23).Jesus taught love is Service. Humility. Justice and mercy and faith.
5. Jesus’s Center was not just loving us but loving us so much that he would put love in Action
• Soon after offering the love commandment, he gathered his disciples, broke bread, and shared a cup. “Take, eat; this is my body,” he said. “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. He shared that meal, and himself, out of love.
• After the meal he was arrested, flogged and nailed to a cross. He cried “with a loud voice and breathed his last” (27:50). Jesus gave his life, his body and blood, out of love.
• When Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God. You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” He is giving us the center of who he is, and he is backing it up with his own life. Jesus went to the cross filled with love — he loved the Lord his God with all of his heart, soul and mind, and he loved his neighbors as himself. He loved each of us enough to die for us.
• Jesus didn’t just tell us that God loved us. He showed us. And that helps us to know that God loves us. He’s a doer. And he invites us to do the very same. Let Love be our Center