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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
November 1, 2003

     One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, "What is the most important commandment?"
     Jesus answered, "The most important one says: 'People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.' The second most important commandment says: 'Love others as much as you love yourself.' No other commandment is more important than these."
     The man replied, "Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make."
     When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, "You are not far from God's kingdom." After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.

Mark 12:28-34 (CEV*)

So often the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the teachers of the law seek to trip up Jesus on the minutae of the Hebraic law. Jesus tells them over and over that they are missing the point. And even today, many active church people get caught up in doctrinal details, and often seem to lose focus on what is really important.

Here we have a teacher of the law who has the sense to ask what is most important. And we have Jesus' classic answer, in which he lifts the key points from the books of the law (the first commandment is from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and the second from Leviticus 19:18). And this teacher does not argue with Jesus, but sees that Jesus is right and even goes on to correctly elaborate that these commandments are more important than all our "proper" observances (mainly sacrifices and offerings to Jews of that time).

So, dear friends, let us keep our focus on what is truly important. Let us love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and strength, and our neighbors as much as ourselves. Everything else pales in importance compared to these great love commandments.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2003 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:04:04 EST