September 29- October 5, 2014
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)
Hillel, the great Old Testament religion teacher, once took up a dare. He claimed he could recite all of the wisdom of the Law of Moses while standing on one leg. When challenged, he recited, “All the wisdom of the Torah consists in this: ‘Thou shalt love the LORD with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.’”
A similar challenge had been given to Jesus long before Hillel. When asked to name the great commandment in the Law, Jesus too used the text from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. As Jesus said, on these statements -love to God and love to one’s neighbor -depend the Law and the Prophets, all of God’s revelation.
People today will have no problem with the Word of God -whether the Law (the 10 Commandments) or the Gospel promises God spoke thru the prophets and apostles -when they love God and their fellow human beings. The entire religion God has revealed to us in Holy Scripture can be summed up not only in a single sentence that can be spoken while standing on one leg; it can be summed up in the one word: “love.”
Our love to God and to neighbor , however, is not self-endowed nor spontaneous -not something that comes naturally. It’s God’s great gift to us. It’s a derivative of God’s great love for us, demonstrated in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, for us and for our salvation. In response to that love, as created in us by the Holy Spirit in bringing us to the saving faith, we love God and all those whom He loves. In this way, everything falls into place because Christ reconciled the world unto God, the Father, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross. And because Christ rose from the dead, we love God and will gladly keep His commandments.