One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realised that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Jesus didn’t give us a long list of religious rules that He wants us to follow. Being a follower of Jesus is so much simpler than that, it’s all about loving God and choosing to put Him first in our thoughts, plans and decisions! Jesus explained that there is only one God and we need to love Him with everything we have and everything we are. Then Jesus added something else, again this is not a religious rule but about a heart attitude: love those you come into contact. Love God with everything and love those around you, there is nothing more important in this world than doing these things.
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbour as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” Realising how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Jesus said that this religious teacher wasn’t far from the kingdom of God, but that also means he wasn’t actually part of God’s kingdom yet. The teacher understood what to do but he hadn’t done anything about it. Maybe he hadn’t yet decided to say sorry for the times he had failed God and let Him down, maybe he hadn’t decided to live this truth, it was all just information in his head and not put into action.
Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
We don’t need to compare ourselves to others and think, “I am useless, I have nothing to give compared to others, what can I do for Him”. Jesus knows your heart, He knows all about you and He loves it when you follow Him with whatever you have. He knows when it was a sacrifice to do it or give it, He is interested in what we do as individuals and what it has cost us in time, money or effort. Jesus is not sidetracked by outward things.
- Thank Jesus that we He gives us His love as a free undeserved and unearned gift
- Ask Jesus to help you to love Him with everything you have and everything you are
- Ask Jesus to help you to not just know about Him but to know Him as a close friend