“And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:33-34 NKJV
A Pharisee asked Jesus, “Which is the first commandment of all.” He did not ask the question because he was curious. He did not ask because he wanted to please God. He hoped Jesus would say something the legalists could use against the Lord.
The Pharisee was a product of the religious system that placed a heavy yoke on common people. They followed the tradition of the elders and demanded the same from others. They were pious to the last title and jot of the law but abandoned relationship with God.
Jesus did not condemn the Pharisee for being a religious zealot. Jesus encouraged him by declaring, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”, why? The Pharisee knew that loving God and the people near us pleases Jesus more than sacrifices and offerings!
The law Jesus wants us to follow is the law of love!
We were created to love God and each other. We were not created to read the bible or go to church. We were not created to teach and preach. We were created to be extensions of God’s love. We only benefit from those things if they help us grow in love!
There may be people you feel you cannot love. There may be people you need to love from a distance. Maybe people find it difficult to love you. Nothing is impossible with God! Jesus would never give us a command we cannot obey!
Sin separated us from God. Sin divides people into tribes, nations and political systems. Sin separates spouses and divides families. Sin crosses cultural and economic lines to breed hatred envy and strife in every place where people gather.
Christmas is a season of love and celebration with friends and family. If we believe Jesus is the reason for the season we should focus on why He came. Jesus came to break us free from bondage to sin!
Do not question God’s greatest commandment. Obey it through faith in the Faithful One. Follow the path of love. Obey the law of love. Let Jesus love people through you!
Love God with all of your heart mind soul and strength. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. The kingdom of God belongs to people who seek Him with the mind of a child and obey Him like a faithful Son!
This is the season of giving and receiving. Receive God’s love as a favored child. Obey Jesus like a faithful son.
Share God’s love with the people near you this Christmas season!
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