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If you have ever wanted to narrow the entire Bible down to something really simple and understandable and concise, today’s Gospel is for you. The Pharisees try yet another time to trick Jesus and ask him a question they think can’t be answered without incriminating himself: “Which law is the greatest?”
Jesus answers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Boom. Jesus finally gives a direct answer to a question, and there’s not a lot of wiggle room in it.
Love God. Love others.
So Jesus gives that first part, which is what they wanted, and the second, which they didn’t ask for but Jesus gave them anyway, and then tells them that all the law and the prophets (essentially all of scripture) hangs on these two. The whole of scripture can be summed up into one of these two things: Love God, love others.
Now if you find yourself wondering just who your neighbor is, Jesus uses a word that doesn’t leave a lot of room for vast interpretation.
We translate it as “neighbor”, which is a good translation, but it literally means anyone who isn’t you.
So if you are wondering if you are supposed to love someone, chances are the answer is yes. Always yes.
This is what God has done for us.
God loves us every day. Even when we don’t deserve it, even when we think we’re not worthy.
God chooses to love us every day, just as we are.
This kind of extravagant, undeserved and unmerited grace daily comes to us and then we are sent out.
Sent out to Love God and love others.
So this leads me to one final question – what would the world look like if we all loved each other the way that God loves us?
Questions for Discussion:
1. Who is a “neighbor” you find difficult to love? Why?
2. What does it mean to love God and love others in your daily life?
|Take some time this week and ask yourself that final question of the devotional above: What might the world look like if we all loved each other the way God loves us? Then try it out. On everyone.