One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The religious leaders were trying to catch Jesus in a contradiction. They began with a question regarding taxes. This was followed by a question regarding marriage in heaven. In today’s passage, the question focused on regarding one commandment more important than another.
“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” This seemed to be an inescapable trap. Certainly a teacher of Scripture could not deem “You shall not murder” more important than, “You shall not steal.” Every commandment stood on equal footing with equal weight and importance. So, Jesus headed straight for a summary passage, Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This passage is the Jewish confession of faith recited every morning and evening. It addresses our vertical relationship with God.
We will continue to look at Jesus’ response over the next two days but for today notice where Jesus starts. Obedience always begins with God. Our focus must be on Him. Without pointing your heart, mind, soul, and strength in the right direction you will always end up at the wrong destination.
Father, please help me to keep my focus on You. Then I can appropriately interact with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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