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Mar 14 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Sixty-nine – Matthew 22:34-40

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

And He said to them, “‘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 foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

The interrogation of Jesus in this chapter was not a quest for truth, but an ongoing attempt to “trap Him in what He said” (v. 15). His enemies kept dangling a baited hook in front of him, asking him trick questions, and hoping he would slip up and say something that would get him into trouble with the authorities or make him unpopular with the people.

There was a bright side to this bantering, however, in that it gave Jesus the opportunity to clarify and expand on important spiritual issues. Of all the issues Jesus addressed, none was more important than the “great and foremost commandment.” According to Jesus, every requirement of God in the entire Scriptures–Law and Prophets–was summed up in the two commandments to love God and to love one’s neighbor. After this dialogue, there could be no more question regarding the greatest commandment, because all the others were themes and variations on these two.

Oh Lord, we are tempted to congratulate ourselves because we know the greatest commandment. But for You, it has never been a matter of knowing what God desires most from us, but doing what He desires. It is as if You were looking us in the eye and saying, “If you want to live, then love. Love the Father by surrendering your heart to Him, and love others by treating them the way you wish to be treated. . . . So, why are you still sitting there?”

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