The Daily Fountain Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 14 February 2023: The Greatest Commandment
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TOPIC: The Greatest Commandment
READ: Matthew 22: 16-41 (AMP)
- And they sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians, saying, Teacher, we know that You are sincere and what You profess to be and that You teach the way of God truthfully, regardless of consequences and being afraid of no man; for You are impartial and do not regard either the person or the position of anyone.
- Tell us then what You think about this: Is it lawful to pay tribute [levied on individuals and to be paid yearly] to Caesar or not?
- But Jesus, aware of their malicious plot, asked, Why do you put Me to the test and try to entrap Me, you pretenders (hypocrites)?
- Show me the money used for the tribute. And they brought Him a denarius.
- And Jesus said to them, Whose likeness and title are these?
- They said, Caesar’s. Then He said to them, Pay therefore to Caesar the things that are due to Caesar, and pay to God the things that are due to God.
- When they heard it they were amazed and marveled; and they left Him and departed.
- The same day some Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection [of the dead], came to Him and they asked Him a question,
- Saying, Teacher, Moses said, If a man dies, leaving no children, his brother shall marry the widow and raise up a family for his brother.
- Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married and died, and, having no children, left his wife to his brother.
- The second also died childless, and the third, down to the seventh.
- Last of all, the woman died also.
- Now, in the resurrection, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.
- But Jesus replied to them, You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor God’s power.
- For in the resurrected state neither do [men] marry nor are [women] given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.
- But as to the resurrection of the dead–have you never read what was said to you by God,
- I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead but of the living!
- And when the throng heard it, they were astonished and filled with [glad] amazement at His teaching.
- Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together.
- And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him.
- Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light–which are heavy?]
- And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
- This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
- And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
- These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.
- Now while the Pharisees were still assembled there, Jesus asked them a question,
In our text we see Jesus disgrace the Pharisees and the Herodians on payment of taxes. He later confounded the Sadducees on their ignorance about marriage on earth and in Heaven. Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day often fought over the relative importance of commandments. Hence the Pharisees approached Jesus and their lawyer asked Him which was the greatest commandment in the Law. Christ reveals that the love of God is the first and great commandment, and the second is to love one’s neighbour as oneself.
Jesus said loving God is linked inextricably to loving other people. John echoes this statement when he says, “If anyone says he loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20). Work is the primary way through which we love other people. Our work fulfills the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-34) and the Good Samaritan lifestyle – Loving your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:25-37). And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves. In many cases, we must deny ourselves for the good of others. Do you love God wholeheartedly? This will cost you time, talent and treasure. Decide to show love to someone today. Will you do so?
PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to love you with all my heart, soul and strength. Amen.