Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
In today’s text from the Gospel of Mark, a teacher of the law asked Jesus a question, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The most important thing that a person can do is to love God with all their being. We know this is possible only by inviting Jesus Christ into our hearts as Lord and Savior. When God is first in our lives, that changes the way we live. With God’s love in our hearts and God leading our lives, we have the capacity to love others in a way that is pleasing to God.
Jesus states there is no commandment greater than these. Our Lord also said, “All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). The Ten Commandments are connected to these. The first four are about loving God. We are not to have any other God. We are not to make a false idol. We are not to curse God’s name. We are to worship him. That is loving God.
The last six commandments relate to loving others. We are to respect our parents. From this we should have respect for authority and for others. We are to have respect for moral purity, respect for others’ property and rights by not stealing. We are to respect what is true by not lying and slandering others. We are to respect what God has provided and not covet what others possess. All this has to do with our relationship with others.
The first half has to do with our relationship with God and the second half with our relationship with one another. As Jesus stated, these two commandments simply summarize the whole law.
We can be the hands of our Lord when we love God with all our being and treat others the way we want to be treated.
James Demby, pastor, Pine Chapel Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina