One thing lawyers can do is ask penetrating questions—questions that bore to the core. That’s why when the Pharisees got together after Jesus silenced the Sadducees in the discussion about the resurrection they decided to let one of their lawyers ask the question. This was their last stab at debunking Jesus’ authority as a teacher. Here’s the question their lawyer asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:37)
In my Old Testament doctorate we spent hours trying to answer “What is the center of Old Testament Theology?” The questions stirred up a hornet’s nest, and this is the kind of controversy the Pharisees hoped to stir. Of course our Savior had no problem cutting right through all the academic air. Even the renown first century Jewish scholar, Philo down in Alexandria, knew that the first half of the stone tablet God gave Moses told us how to love Him (Deuteronomy 6:3) and the second half told us how to love one another (Leviticus 19:18). (Philo, Decalogue, 108-10)
What blows my mind is that these enemies of Jesus were addressing God in the flesh while hating Him and seeking to murder Him. A long way from loving God with all your heart! My human heart is just as deceptive and blind.
Daily, I’m realizing more and more that the only way I can love God with everything I’ve got is to allow Him to pour His love into me and the same is true when it comes to loving others. I’m especially skeptical of the pious friend who says he or she has a tender love for God but wishes God’s children would get out of their way and stop bugging them so much.
LORD, I know your Son nailed the essence of what you want me to do. Thank you that He was nailed to the cross because in my own strength I totally fail to love You or others. Thanks that Jesus gives me far more than forgiveness. He also gives me a new identity that the Spirit does empower so that I can love You and others today.
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