68. The first great commandment and the second
THE Pharisees had heard that Jesus had put the Sadducees to silence; and one of them which was a lawyer, perceiving that Jesus had answered the Sadducees well, asked him, tempting him, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus said unto him,
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe (lawyer) said, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength; and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Jesus saw that he answered discreetly; and said unto him,
Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
¶While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?
They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them,
How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
And no man was able to answer him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask him questions. The common people heard him gladly.
¶While Jesus taught in the temple, he said,
How say the scribes that Christ is David’s son? For in the book of Psalms David himself saith by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and how is he then his son?
Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts; which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: these same shall receive greater damnation,
¶Jesus sat over against the treasury. He beheld people cast money and gifts into the treasury. Many that were rich cast in much. He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites, which make a farthing. He called his disciples, and saith unto them,
Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow doth cast in more than they all which have cast into the treasury: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Scripture: Matthew 22:34-40
Meditation 1 of 2:
What is the purpose of God’s law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They made it a life-time practice to study the 616 precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They tested Jesus to see if he correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will. What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves. Do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart? Paul the Apostle says: hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Do you know the love which conquers all?
“Lord, your love surpasses all. Flood my heart with your love and increase my faith and hope in your promises. Help me to give myself in generous service to others as you have so generously given yourself to me.”
Scripture: Matthew 22:41-46
Meditation 2 of 2:
How could King David recognize the Christ as both his son and his Lord? Among the Jews the most common title for the Messiah was the Son of David. The Jews looked forward to the long-expected Savior who would come from the line of David. Jesus was often addressed with that title, especially by the crowds (Mark 10:47ff, Matthew 9:27; 12:23). David acknowledged that the Messiah would indeed come from his line as God had promised him. But David also prophesied in Psalm 110 that the Messiah would not simply be his son and heir, but his Lord and Redeemer who would rule, not just Israel, but all the nations as well.
How could David recognize the Messiah as both son and lord? Jesus proclaims that it was the Holy Spirit who inspired David (Matt. 22:43). David recognized from afar that the promised Messiah would not simply be a prince of David’s line who would conquer lands and peoples like David himself. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, David recognized that the Messiah would be the true Son of God who would redeem his people and establish them as a royal priesthood and a holy nation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the true identity of Christ to all who will open their hearts and minds to receive this revelation.
Jesus points to himself as the true heir of David’s throne and the true Lord of David as well. Paul the Apostle states that “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). Jesus did not come with an army to conquer nations and territories, but he came in the power of the Spirit to conquer the hearts of men and women for his kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). He won pardon and freedom for us through his sacrificial love and victory on the cross.
What does it mean to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord? The word Lord means “ruler” or “king” — the one who is owed personal fealty, familial loyalty, and willing submission. Whether we recognize it or not, we indeed are all ruled by someone or something. The Lord or Master of our lives is the person or power we give our lives over to and submit to in a full way. We can be ruled by many different things — such as our unruly passions (such as rage, lust, envy, pride, hatred, etc.), the love of money, alcohol, drugs, possessions, etc. Only one Lord can truly set us free to love and to be loved as God intended from the beginning. When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord we invite him to be the Master of our heart and the Ruler of our thoughts and actions, relationships and home, and all that we do and say. Is the Lord Jesus the true Master and King of your heart and do you give him free reign in every area of your life?
“Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of David and the Son of God. You are my Lord and I willingly submit myself to your rule in my life. Be Lord and King of my life, my thoughts, heart, home, relationships, work and all that I do.”