Story: Matthew 22
This week takes us to the book of Matthew. Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem towards the end of his ministry. While there, he wasted no time preaching to the people through stories and parables. However, the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) came and challenged Jesus by trying to trap him with a wrong answer but every time Jesus baffled them with his responses. This continued for some time until a Pharisee who spent his life studying the law approached Jesus: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Matthew 22:36
The Pharisee was asking Jesus “What does God care the most about?” This was a question endlessly debated by the Pharisees at the time. They wanted Jesus to say a commandment they disagreed with, so they could discredit him.
“37 Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5) 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’(Leviticus 19:18) 40 All the Law and the Prophets hinges on these two commandments.”– Matthew 22:37- 40
The most important thing to God is that we love him above all else and care for others just as we care about ourselves. It is not about following every rule to perfection but be called to give compassion as Jesus so freely gave it to us.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:4-5
A few weeks ago in our elementary room while teaching and a 10-year-old raised his hand and asked, “If you do something bad will God still love you?” I was blown away by the question, but I was happy to say that the answer to the question is absolutely! I remember an old quote from one of Pastor Tim’s sermons: “Our failures to change ourselves serves as a reminder that need someone stronger than us to change us.”
The truth is, we are sinful and in no way are we worthy to be with God, yet he helps us every day to realize that we will always need him. Every moment we spend with God helps us grow to be more like Him. When we learn to love God unconditionally we can then go out and love others because God showed us that we are worth dying for.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38
Challenge yourself everyday to make an impact in someone’s life, you never know how much it may mean to them.