Read Mark 12:28-34
A religious teacher approaches Jesus with an incredibly complex question. “Which commandment is the most important?” And Jesus with his typical simplicity sums up not just the ten commandments but all of Israel’s laws with two very simple statements. Addressing the teacher, Jesus says “Love God, love him completely with all your heart, soul and mind – with everything you have – love God, and then Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself, if you do these things you’ve got it”.
The tragedy of sin (rebellion against God) is that it destroys two relationships – it destroys our relationship with God but it also destroys our relationships with our fellow human beings. In the first sin when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they rejected God’s guidance over their life. They chose their own selfish desires over God’s pure direction and thus a divide was created between humans and God. In that act of sin Adam and Eve chose their own desire for greatness over loving God with all their hearts, soul and mind. When confronted over their sin, Adam and Eve immediately turn on each other – Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent (who had no legs to stand on). The next sin recorded in the bible is Cain’s murder of Abel in Genesis 4. The saddest part of this is the murder is caused by jealousy because God had a greater regard for Abel’s offering to God than Cain’s. Because of the broken relationship between us and God, we then turn on each other.
So, addressing the destruction caused by sin, Jesus says “Love God with everything you have and love your fellow human beings as much as your love yourself – if you get that you are on the right track”. Don’t get Jesus wrong – whilst the statements read so simply – to love God with all you have and to love others as much as you love yourself is the hardest thing I believe you will ever do. By your own strength – impossible – but equipped and transformed by the Holy Spirit – completely possible.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What does it look like in your everyday to love God with everything? Try to be specific, what are things that you do (or don’t do) that are acts of love towards God?
- What does it look like to love others like you love yourself? Try to be specific, what are things that you do (or don’t do) to love others?
- How have you stopped this week to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually?