Friday, October 21, 2011
Matthew 22:34-40: The two greatest commandments: Love God, Love Neighbour
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Here we see Jesus sum up the entire commandments in two commands: Love God and Love your neighbour. Jesus did not create this idea but simply echos the idea that is heavily entrenched by the Jewish Tradition. In the ten commandments it is broken down into three sections: Relationship to God, Relationship to Family, and Relationship to Neighbour. Here Jesus has combined neighbour and family to highlight the real purpose of these commandments. Without love of God there can never be love of neighbour, for it is through God that we love. Without love of neighbour, we become alone and isolated. It is through our neighbours we can encounter God's love for us.