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THE TWO KEY COMMANDMENTS

Date: December 21

Category: Follow God

Matthew 22:37-40
"And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Slobodan & Ljiljana KrstevskiAt this time, a Pharisee lawyer asked Jesus a question to test Him. In verse 36 we read, "Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light – which are heavy?]" So then Jesus answered the lawyer by giving him two key commandments. These two commandments are the most important and sum up the whole Law and the Prophets, which is really the entire Old Testament. So if we heed to these two commandments, then we will be obeying the entire Law of God.

First Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect)." It's interesting to notice that all of these elements (heart, soul and mind) are synonymous. The seat of who we are is our heart. Our soul represents our mind, will and emotions. So in order to love God with our mind, we are to read and meditate upon His truth. Then in order to love God with our soul, we are to subject our will under the Word of God. Then in order to love God with our heart, we are to submit our entire being to His lordship. Our relationship with God should be first in our lives.

The word, "love" here is "agape," which is an unconditional love that God has toward us. It is an inner quality of the Spirit of God that is within us, and that love responds to the love that God has for us. Because God loved us first, we now respond to Him by loving Him back with that same kind of "agape" love.

When we love God with all of our heart, then our heart becomes full of the love of God. Then the fullness of God's love will be evident through the words that come out of our mouths. In Matthew 12:34b we read, "For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks." The words that you and I speak will show others where our heart is. So in order to speak the Word of God, our hearts need to be full of the Word. That's why we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind. According to verse 38, "This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment."

Then Jesus gave the second commandment in verse 39, "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as [you do] yourself." This second commandment is very similar to the "golden rule," which we read in Matthew 7:12, "So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets."

There is a significant distinction between these two commandments. When Jesus commanded us to love God, He said that we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. That means that everything we are has to be directed toward God. But when we love others, Jesus said that we are to love them as we love ourselves. So the standard of which we love God is based upon God's love for us. The standard of which we love others is based upon our love for ourselves.

It's very important to notice that the first commandment is about our relationship with God and the second commandment is about our relationship with other people. In order to have a proper relationship with people, we first need to have a proper relationship with God. If we are not in right standing with God, then we cannot be in right standing with people. For example, a husband cannot profess to be a strong Christian if he is not treating his wife properly. Our relationship with people is a reflection of our relationship with God. So if something is wrong in our relationship with others, then it is a clear sign that something is not right in our relationship with God.

Lastly, we read in verse 40, "These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets." So the entire Law of God is based upon these two commandments. That's why Jesus said that they are the most important. So today, let us be people of obedience. Let's heed to the instructions of Jesus and let us love God with all of our heart, soul and mind and love others as we would love ourselves.

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