There was a lot weighing in the scales of time when Jesus was tempted of the Pharisees in Matthew 22. As God is the author of time, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient; His son Jesus knew the importance of responding correctly to the tempting question of the Pharisees. The discrepancy in the Pharisees logic was they were dealing with the Creator of the universe. The one who was before Abraham, the Lord of all creation.
When they asked of Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” They were asking out of a cunning, sly, spiteful, and devious spirit. The lot of them had no real desire to know the greatest commandment, some might have had an inkling of conviction to know what Christ was about to say, but for the most part their hearts were so waxed it didn’t matter what Christ would have said.
Jesus, led of the Spirit, spoke back to them in boldness and without hesitation saying, “Love the Lord with all thy heart, soul, and mind.” He would continue to say, “On this did the Law and all of the Prophets hang on.” Since the beginning this is exactly what God has wanted. To have relationship with mankind. It all goes back to love. Everything. Unfortunately love nowadays has become something so different.
The way the world loves is, more or less, a condition on what they can receive rather than give, and once they feel that love isn’t being reciprocated the ‘feeling’ stops and so does the commitment. Love has become a very conditional characteristic in the common world of today. Christ’s love is so much more sure and promising than this.
The love expressed by God the Father, in essence, is; God creating a being that once was perfect and then chooses to defy Him. Futhermore, God then allowing a chance at redemption, knowing good and well, that there would still be a great many of people that would reject this redemption. God caring for and providing or a being, that eventually would turn their hearts toward Him out of hatred and damnable pride.
The Pharisees fit this description to a T. They studied for years upon decades, days upon weeks, and hours upon days the Old Testament and still yet missed the very one that was prophesied about. The very foreshadow of everything mentioned and discussed in the law. They missed it completely because of their own pride. Lord help us to not do the same.
The point I really want to talk about comes from the second statement Jesus makes. He starts off by saying this, “And the second is like the first. Love your neighbor as yourself.” The second greatest commandment Jesus (Lord, Creator, First and the Last etc.) gave was to love your neighbor as yourself. How far we have gotten from this great truth. The truth is; in order for your church to grow, in order for Christianity to grow we must love our neighbor as we would unconditionally love ourselves.
This can be practiced by showing compassion, as it moves us to action. Showing the love of Christ, calling out sin for what it really is, but loving them enough to point everyone to the answer. Jesus Christ. I pray this over my life quite frequently, “Lord help me to love every one as you love them. Help me to see people with your eyes. Clothe me, every moment of every day, with the eyes of your Spirit to see the heart of the individual rather than the outside.” I want to love like Jesus loved. I want to see people freed from their addictions and bondages because we showed someone the love of Christ. Even in rejection, Christ loved the Pharisees. He created them to have perfect communion and fellowship and would eventually die for the sins of these very men who were defying him. That, my friend, is the greatest love story ever told.
-Always in love from me to you,
Pastor Colton Pemberton