In Exodus 19, Israel was at Mount Sinai. God spoke to Moses with cloud and thunder and lightnings. The people were in awe and fear and cleansed their bodies and clothing because God would come down on the mountain in three days. No one including animals were to approach the base of the mountain, other than Moses and Aaron. In chapter 20 Moses received the “Ten Commandments” from God Almighty:
20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
3 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
What do these verses say about who God is? God is holy. His mighty hand through awesome, terrifying signs and wonders, released the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians; the house of their bondage. God is Father, Lord, jealous, worthy of honor and obedience, wants to give his children rest, provides a father and mother that should be honored (the first commandment with a promise), He’s provider, justice, very concerned about His children’s welfare. Oh, and He is love!
Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other…
Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
This was the Law of the Old covenant. What happened to it in God’s New Covenant? Let’s see what Jesus had to say, first to the Lawyer:
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
To the Scribes:
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So, the whole underlying theme of the original 10 Commandments was: Love the Lord your God with everything you are and all that you have, then love your neighbor as you love yourself. That takes care of the vertical and horizontal planes we live in. But, Jesus did not leave it at that; He took it further by going to the heart attitude:
Adultery in the Heart
Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Love Your Enemies
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
James, the Lord Jesus’ brother, adds to Jesus’ aim at the root of our unlovingness:
James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The Apostle Paul sums up the whole law in these two passages:
Romans 13:9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law which we could not. The Law was a teacher or task master, showing us that we cannot completely obey it by our human will. Christ solved this problem by paying the price we could not pay. Because of this, the Law is no longer written on stone tablets, but it is written on our hearts. This is why we can sense what is against the Law of love because there will be a check in our Spirit if Jesus Christ is Lord of our life. But you may ask: “How do I forgive my parents?” Unforgiveness is not helping you, and it’s keeping them from repentance and salvation. Honor them as the ones who gave you life and leave their punishment to the Lord God; He promises to not let them go unpunished. How do I forgive the one who’s hurt me or my family? The same way. You can forgive them; it doesn’t mean you have to make them your best friend or excuse their sin. It means you are forgiving them as God in Christ forgave you; if you do not forgive their sins, He can’t forgive you of your sins. (see Matthew 6:12 & Mark 11:25-26)
People who have been taken up to Heaven tell how overwhelming God’s love is there. God IS Love incarnate! Do you know that He doesn’t do anything for you that’s not good? John 10:9-10 The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.
Our Heavenly Father, God in Heaven, IS LOVE! It is not in His nature or ability to lie, kill, steal or destroy; He is not a man that He should lie. Satan, the father of lies, cannot do anything BUT lie, kill, steal and destroy. There is no love lost between Satan and his demons; they don’t even like each other! Who would you rather believe… that voice inside your head that says,”I could NEVER forgive him (or her) for what he’s done to me”… or the God who loved you enough to send His Son to die for us all, even the one who’s hurt us? Steep yourself in the love of God that abounds toward us in Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. Leave the devil to wallow in the mire with his cohorts.
Shalom to you, my dear readers; complete peace and wholeness in your life and being, in Christ Jesus, Amen
2 thoughts on “The Greatest Commandment”
A Very good Message and it’s True when we Love God with all our Heart we obey Him and we don’t have to force ourselves to do so, we want to please God and Honor Him with our Lives.
Christian Love – Anne.
Thanks! I’m never quite sure if I’ve made myself clear. All to His glory!
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