Love God, Love Neighbor – Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." – Matthew 22:34-40
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he ...view middle of the document...
* The second also concerns love, this time towards one’s “neighbor,” which in Luke 10:29-37 expands to everyone/anyone who needs our help.
Scriptures Jesus quoted:
* You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. – Deuteronomy 6:5
* You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18
Scripture explaining that a neighbor is anyone who needs your help:
* 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." – Luke 10:29-37
1. The two commandments, Jesus says, stand together.
a. The first without the second is intrinsically impossible (cf. 1 John 4:20), and the second without the first – even theoretically – cannot stand because disciplined altruism is not love.
b. Love in the truest sense demands abandonment of self to God, and God alone is the adequate incentive for such abandonment.
2. This passage is in keeping with prophetic tradition of the OT, which equally demands a heart relationship with God. (Deut. 10:12; 1 Sam 15:22; Isa 1:11-18; 43:22-24; Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Mic. 6:6-8; cf. Prov. 15:8; 21:27; 28:9)
c. Sterile religion, no matter how disciplined, was never regarded as adequate.
3. There is no question here of the priority of love over law – i.e. one system over another – but of the priority of love within the law.
d. The two commandments are the greatest because all Scripture “hangs” on them; i.e. nothing in Scripture can cohere or be truly obeyed unless these two are observed.
e. The entire biblical revelation of God demands heart religion marked by total obedience to God, loving him and love one’s neighbor.
Scripture proving that one without the other is impossible:
* If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen...