Lovin' Your Neighbor

A sharp lawyer once asked Jesus a great question. “What is the greatest commandment?”

Jesus answered,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:34-40).  

Jesus’ answer just raised more questions for me. Why did He include the second commandment when the man just asked for the greatest commandment? And most of all, what does it mean that all the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments?

You should have seen my uncontainable excitement when I found my answer—in the Bible! (This is one of the best Bible study tips I’ve ever received—let Scripture interpret Scripture.) Here’s how Romans 13:8-10 explains it:

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

How about that?! I’ve always thought Jesus fulfilled the Law by not doing certain things—by living an exemplary life. And that might be part of it. But, I wonder, according to this verse, if Jesus fulfilled the Law and the prophets when He did the most loving act ever, and gave His life for sinners?

As I continued my search through the Bible, I found a new commandment that Jesus gave in John 13:34-35,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What’s so “new” about this? It seems to be the “just as I have loved you” part. That sure raises the stakes! Jesus has commanded us to love others not just as we love ourselves, but as He sacrificially loved us—and when we do, people will know that we love Jesus and are His disciples!

What do you think? Why is loving others such a big deal to God?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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