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Sunday, June 5, 2011

6/6/11 Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(Jesus in Temple James Tissot 1896-94)

Thoughts: James calls this "The Royal Law" (James 2:8).  Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 (love God), and Leviticus 19:18 (Love neighbor). It is important to look at the Old Testament context for these laws. Calvin points out these are the two divisions of the ten commandments- the focus on God and the focus on human beings.  The context in Deuteronomy is that the passage begins speaking of God as one (similar to the first of the Ten Commandments).  Then the passage asks us to pass these commandments on to our children.  So the motivation to love God is that God is the One and Only, who will also be God to their descendants.  Before Leviticus presecribes loving neighbor, it speaks of not seeking revent and not holding a grudge.  So the context is that the person we are called to love has done enough wrong so that we would want to seek revenge or hold a grudge.  It appears then, that this is similar to Jesus' prescription to turn the other cheek.  It is important to see these commands to love in their context.

Prayer: Help me to lvoe you and my neighbor, Lord. 

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