When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
We are commanded to love, and not simply in a Hallmark romance sort of way. The original Greek language uses the word “agape” which means an unconditional love – a love that knows no bounds. This is the sort of love that will occupy all of our heart, soul and mind. When we are that consumed by love for something, it is evident to all around us.
Think for a moment about the most loving couple that you know, perhaps a couple that has been together for fifty years or more. You don’t have to hear them tell each other “I love you” to know the depth of their bond. You see it as they hold hands while walking down the street. You see it as he holds the door open for her, or helps her with her chair. You see it as she tenderly kisses him, or when she helps him pick out a shirt. They spend time together, not always talking, but simply just enjoying being next to each other. They make sacrifices for each other, but they likely wouldn’t think of it as sacrificing since what they really want is for the other to be happy. Their love causes a multitude of actions, with each one speaking far louder than words.
Jesus tells us that our love for God should make a love like I just described seem weak in comparison. If that is the case, our actions on a daily basis should clearly demonstrate our love for God. And since Jesus also commanded us to love our neighbor, then our actions on a daily basis should also clearly demonstrate our love for our neighbors. Through his own actions, Jesus showed us that the greatest act of love is to lay down our lives so that our neighbors might experience salvation. Therefore, the clearest way that we can demonstrate our love for God and for our neighbor is to earnestly seek to make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that Christ commands. The manifestation of the Great Commandment is the Great Commission.
Yes, we need to care for widows and orphans. Yes, we need to visit the imprisoned. Yes, we need to stand alongside the oppressed and persecuted. We do those things because our lives should be a manifestation of the character of Jesus. But we must never forget that the ultimate act of love, for both God and for our neighbor, is for us to tell our neighbor about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to seek to lead them into a saving relationship with Jesus. If we truly love God and our neighbor, then we must go and make disciples.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron