Sometimes it seems like Jesus says, “Hit me with your best shot!” Several groups of religious people do exactly that! But Jesus in every case is still left standing and more often than not…..they are amazed at what Jesus says! Today, Jesus is asked, again, this time by a teacher of the Law that might be asking a sincere question, what the MOST IMPORTANT commandment is………hmmmmm…..I want to hear this…….what will Jesus say?
I always tell people that this is where the E,F, Hutton people step into the Bible…..all activity stops, it gets deathly quiet, and hands go to ears so what He says can be heard…..the tension builds, whatever Jesus says will be profound…..there are over 600 commandments in the Old Testament…..what is the MOST IMPORTANT commandment?
Mark 12:28-30 (TNIV)
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The first thing I want to point out is this: Jesus is not merely interested in answers to questions; you can see in His answer that Jesus is most concerned about your heart and your commitment to God. He is most interested in your relationships…..the first and most important being your vertical relationship with Him (indeed, with God). Knowledge, interestingly enough, can be it own worst reward………but love….your heart……that’s a different story!
In order to enter into God’s kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, that is present right here, right now (Luke 17:20-21), we must understand and do two things: First, we must wholehearted faith (as opposed to halfhearted faith) and second, we must surrender ourselves to God’s will and His love.
Indeed, we must surrender ourselves to Jesus. What does that mean? I love my wife with all my heart and I have surrendered to her……I am not in any opposition to her, I recognize that she loves me and I love her, I seek ways to please her and am thankful for the time that we have together. I wake up wanting to see her and go to sleep with an, “I love you” on my lips.
What does it mean to love God? Indeed, what does it mean to love Jesus? First, I have to say that much like I love my wife, my children and my grandchildren (an even more)…….my love for god involves every aspect of my being.
God, indeed Jesus, has my heart. Does he have yours? Is Jesus the focus of your affections? Is your love for Him warm and real? Do you take pleasure in the ultimate worth of the love you share? I wake up each day with a thankfulness and end my day with an “I love you” on my lips as I drift off to sleep.
God, indeed Jesus, has my soul. Are you willing to Give Jesus your very life? Does your worship, which involves every part of you, genuinely reflect your inner desires and intentions in life….to live and love? Do you love Jesus with your total being? I live a passionate life, all things point to Jesus and His love for not only me, but for each of us. And I am thankful. Are you?
God, indeed Jesus, has my mind. He doesn’t have MY mind…I actually try hard to always have His. Does you commitment to Him involve learning more in order to love more? Is your faith based simply on a blind trust…..or is it based on a growing relationship that you have nurtured over time? Have you sincerely sought to apply the attitudes of Jesus, indeed, the attitudes of the kingdom to your life (See the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12) ?
God, indeed Jesus, is my strength. Do you strive daily to serve Jesus and others with love and a sincere energy of purpose? Have you devoted all of your physical and mental gifts to Jesus? And here is the big one……..can you sustain this intense love for Jesus even under the pressure of doubts as they arise (and they do)?
It’s funny, as I describe my relationship with Jesus and what it means to truly love God, indeed, to truly love Jesus, with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength…….I find also on another level a recipe for loving my wife, children and grandchildren.
There were over 600 commandments in the Old Testament. The weight of each was debated over and over by the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. But…….debate all you want….Jesus boiled it all down to one thing…..I saw it best expressed this way: “What mattered were not laws and their relative importance; what mattered was a relationship with the one true God.” Indeed, what MATTERS, is a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.