Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Luke records the third instance: And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:25-28)
So, in the last two days, we’ve seen that if you get into loving God and loving your neighbor, you are at the core of all God’s truth and you are near to the Kingdom of God. Now, Jesus adds one more observation: And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” This time Jesus says if you embrace these two commandments, you will know what it means to really live!
Just as Jesus lived his life in a loving relationship with the Creator God he called his Father, so are you as a follower of Jesus to do the same. These two commands to love God and love your neighbor as yourself were not even listed within the 10 commandments. It’s because this couplet is way more important than even God’s big 10. I’ve come to believe that loving God is the essence of the first 5 of the 10 commandments and loving your neighbor is the essence of the second 5 of the 10. The greatest commandment by Jesus summarizes God’s big 10!
NOTE Jesus says to “love your neighbor as you love your self.” What’s this all about? I think it’s clear that the quality and care you take to love your neighbor ought to be equal to how much and well you love your self. Now here’s the problem. If you don’t love your self, then your neighbor is in a heap of trouble!
We live in a world where self-love and acceptance are rare. This may seem strange with all of the selfishness that permeates our cultures. Self-love and acceptance are not based upon your performance; they’re not based upon anyone else’s approval of you, although this is precisely where we naturally go for approval-to others. You won’t find any sense of satisfaction in seeking approval from others. You don’t want others’ approval; you might want and need their affirmation of you, but not their approval. If you give the “others” in your world enough power to give you approval, you also give them the power to destroy you. Only your Maker can place the stamp of approval on you. (God has also given the right to parents to give His stamp of approval on their children, whether they do it or not.)
So, love God and love your neighbor as yourself! To follow after Jesus in this way will prove to be the most fulfilling expression of Jesus ever! This will not only make a difference in your neighbors; it will transform your life inside out! As Jesus says, “Do this and you will really live!”