“ ‘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.’ “
“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- Call your prayer partner for your 10-minute prayer call. If you are having trouble connecting, keep trying! Don’t forget to invite the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you talk and pray together.
- Be still and know that He is God. Psalm 46:10 reminds us to stop. Be still. Whether the unrest is in our heart, mind, or body, He beckons us to be still. Make room in your heart for Him, as you go to your prayer closet with your Bible, journal, a pen, and your favorite tea or coffee.
- Read Matthew 22:34-46 slowly, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word. Write verse 37 in your journal.
The Questioning of Jesus
Put yourself in Jerusalem on Tuesday of Holy Week, just days before the execution of Jesus. He knew His death and suffering were soon to come, even when no one else did. Whippings and thorns were imminent. Hands and feet would be painfully pierced. What a heavy burden He was carrying!
On that Tuesday, Jesus endured intense questioning by both the Sadducees and the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-46). Keeping in mind that Jesus was 100% perfect, 100% innocent, and completely aware of His impending crucifixion, we find the perfect LOVE of our Father and Savior in the response Jesus gracefully gave to their questioning.
The setting was a like a heated political debate. Jesus had been pitched a tricky question from the Sadducees, the Jews of the highest standing. Because Jesus silenced the Sadducees with His pure, accurate, Scripture-based answer, the Pharisees competitively gathered to challenge and interrogate Him.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
In the midst of this hostile environment, Jesus responded as Matthew 9:36 describes, and He saw them and had compassion on them. Jesus’s answer to the Pharisees challenge was LOVE. He told them, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
The beauty of Jesus’s answer hits our hearts strongly today. Jesus had to stand in front of hate-filled critics who wanted to trick Him, make Him look foolish, and prove Him wrong.
He answered them with love.
Fast forward to today.
– In the face of my enemies, would I…and even could I…respond how Jesus did?
– What will I say next time I am in conflict?
– Even if I have the mightiest fortitude and reply to opposition lovingly, am I living out what Jesus clearly articulated as THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to do with my life, which is to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul?
I am humbled. Though Jesus knew they were going to kill Him, He somehow endured their questioning and arrogance. Surprisingly, He still mercifully emphasized that love was the greatest commandment.
Why? Because He longs for us to love Him. He wants all our affection. He is our Good Father who gave His all for us because He LOVES us!
In Matthew 26:6-13, Jesus told us how to love God well through the story of Mary of Bethany. He said the right choice was to sit at His feet, listen, and be with Him. It’s not about busying ourselves with more service or action like Martha did. To some, that is a huge relief- following Jesus is not as hard as it might seem. Simply put, Jesus wants a relationship with us!
He wants our time and attention devoted to listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice. He wants us to have an open heart to receiving His guidance and following His lead. Truly, He is looking for us to love Him with all we have because He loves us dearly.
Oh, God, break my heart so I may see You rightly, see You for who You really are, and respond by loving You with my all!
Questions to Ponder
- To me, what does it mean to love the Lord my God with my heart? My mind? My soul?
- Also, it says “all” my heart, mind, and soul…what does my “all” look like?
- If someone looked at my finances and calendar, would they determine God is “Lord” in my life?
- As you ponder how to give your all, remember that He desires a “Mary of Bethany response.” He wants you to sit at His feet and pursue a better relationship with the Lord your God. Start this week by setting the timer for just one minute. Sit down for that short moment and practice listening for your loving Father to speak to you. Remember, start small and practice makes perfect! Like we always say, you do you! Perhaps increase the time if you sense the Holy Spirit prompting you.
Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.
"...he set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…”(v. 2-3)
Kristi loves to sing "a song of praise to our God, as He makes her steps secure” atop the Rocky Mountains! So far, she has summited 13 of Colorado's 14,000ft peaks with her husband and 2 boys.After 35 years in California, Kristi and her family have made their home in Colorado, where they delight in spending time together hiking, biking, playing music, or canoeing.