Posted by: dhkrause | April 29, 2018

The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12_30

Jesus was asked, “What is the first commandment of all?”  He replied, giving both the first and second greatest commandments:

Mark 12 (NKJV)
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Let us examine all three parts of Jesus’ answer:

(1) Hearing the one true God
(2) Loving God with your whole being
(3) Loving others as yourself

1. Hearing the one true God

1 Timothy 2 declares that “there is one God”, and describes “the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 2_5

1 Timothy 2 (NKJV)
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

When Jesus called four fishermen to be his disciples, He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:18-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

1 Corinthians 8 declares “there is one God” and then describes the lordship of Jesus Christ under the Father.

1 Corinthians 8
yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

 1. Loving God with your whole being

Loving God with all you are requires a pure and undivided heart.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Psalm 51_10 (2)

God said of David, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ (Acts 13:22)  Yet David sometimes had a divided heart, as seen in his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah.  He suffered grave consequences for these sins, but God did restore Him spiritually when he repented and prayed for God to create in him a clean [undivided] heart:

 Psalm 51
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

 In Jeremiah 24:7, God describes the people who are returning to Him:

Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Jesus teaches about the need for an undivided heart in Matthew 6:24 (NIV):

Matthew 6_24

Loving God with one’s whole being means being truly set apart to do His will, as Jesus prays in John 17:

John 17 (NET Bible)
17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.

Loving God with one’s whole heart means purifying oneself to be like Jesus, as 1 John 3 declares:

1 John 3 (NKJV)
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

3. Loving others as yourself

In John 13, Jesus raises the standard for loving others.  Instead of just loving our neighbors as ourselves, He commands, “love one another as I have loved you.”

John 13_34

John 13 (NKJV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Having a pure heart towards God enables a person to love others deeply and fervently, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22-23 (NIV)
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 Peter 1_22

David Krause,, 4/28/2018,

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