The Great Commandment

by Will Benedetti

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul. and with all they mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:34-38 KJV).

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered 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 commandment (Mark 12:28-30 KJV).

How many of us, if we weren't already familiar with Yeshua's answer, would have answered the same way? Probably no one would. Instead, people today do exactly what the Pharisee did, that is, they try to rate the law in order of importance. The apostle James told us that this was wrong in James 2:10-11:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

People still use Christ's answer to try and rate the law, by saying that some of the law shows love towards God while the rest shows love towards neighbor. This is still wrong. Some of the law shows love towards neighbor and ALL of the law shows love towards God. By loving your neighbor you also show love towards God.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (I John 5:1-3 KJV).

One of the first things that algebra teaches is what is known as the commutative property — if "a" is equal to "b", and if "b" is equal to "c", then "a" must also be equal to "c". Likewise, if the greatest law is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:37-38), and the love of God is to keep his commandments (I John 5:3), then the greatest law is to keep God's commandments with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. By doing this you show love to God, to Christ, and to your fellow Christians (I John 5:1-3).