“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28)
This was a very important question because, in Jesus’ time, a debate was going on among Jewish teachers about how to produce a summary of the Law or Torah. When Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself.”
In two simple sentences Jesus gets to the heart of true religion. First we must give ourselves totally to God. And from that relationship of trust and obedience stems a right relationship with other people. Here we have a powerful demonstration of the principle which underlies so much of Jesus’ teaching, ie, conduct stems from faith. It is a bit like drawing a circle with a compass – get the centre right and the circumference will be right. In other words, make the love of God the centre of our lives and our relationship with our neighbour will be acceptable to God.
This statement of Jesus about love has far-reaching implications for every thought and action of the Christian. For if we follow the way of love, which is the way of Jesus, we find ourselves committed not only to loving our own little circle of friends but to an attitude of love to all people, regardless of who they are and what they are like.
Prayer : Loving Father, help us to share in Christ’s ministry of love and service to one another; through Jesus Christ who in the unity of the Holy Spirit is one with you for ever. Amen.