Matthew 22:34-40 – Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

The summary of the law in Deuteronomy chapter six, which Jesus quoted, is the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with everything you've got. And like the first of the ten, that commandment really begins with an affirmation of who God is. This is your God, your one-and-only.

When Jesus was asked to sum up all the laws that Moses had passed down to his people, Jesus said the same thing. Then he added another phrase from one of Moses' sermons: love your neigbour as yourself. The commandments all come down to love.

We know that love can't be commanded, or required. The will to love can't be forced. But God doesn't demand that we obey in order to be loved. God loves us already.

God loves us. God has made covenant with us through Jesus. We love God, but how can we know how to love God? Where do we begin? So God shows us how to love, by giving us Jesus. God tells us how to live in love, by speaking words of law. Words of love.

Living in the way of love is the best way to show our love for God.

It begins with God, and God's love.

Prayer: Loving God, help me to honour your law and keep your commandments as I live in covenant partnership with you. Amen.

About the author:

Laurence DeWolfe
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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