One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,”Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Scribes and Pharisees debated the about which rule was the greatest. In Jewish culture there are hundreds of laws. Laws about eating. Laws about cleaning. Laws about justice. In this passage this scribe finally gets it. The law is about Love. Nothing is greater than Love. Love for our heavenly Father and our, sometimes “unloveable”, neighbor. Who is our neighbor? As has been stated before … EVERYONE!
My favorite part of this verse is Jesus’ reply. He is speaking about this persons mind that has been freed from the thought that what is done via law to cleanse a person or the sacrifices and offerings made by law are greater than Loving God and His creation. Because of this love you will make sacrifices and offerings, not the other way around.
Oh, that my Lord would say this to me, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
How far are you from the Kingdom of God today? Is there evidence in the sacrifices and offerings produced from the love in your heart?