Chapter 33 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22.36).
Everyone has a purpose? We may believe we are called to teach others or take care of those who are sick. We may feel called to be full time moms or lead a large company. We may be firefighters or police officers or nannies. We may have a strong desire to use an artistic or musical talent. We can feel called to various careers or activities, but what is our primary purpose in God’s view?
Jesus went straight to the heart of that question when He was asked by a religious lawyer, “Which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Including the Ten Commandments, the Jewish Torah— comprised of the first five books of the Bible— contains 613 commandments. When the Jewish lawyer posed the question, Jesus used the phrase “first and great” to clarify that He was also taking into consideration the Ten Commandments. Jesus went on to say, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (v. 40).
Loving God (the vertical dimension of life) and loving one another (the horizontal dimension) represent all that the Ten Commandments address. The first four commandments (having no other gods before Him, not making an image or likeness, not taking His name in vain, and remembering to keep the Sabbath day) have to do with our relationship with God, the upward, or vertical, expression. The last six (honoring our parents, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not lying, and not coveting) speak about our relationship with other people, the outward, or horizontal, expression. So, although the Pharisees were “testing” Jesus when they asked this question (v. 35), He simply told them that all the commandments boil down to this: love. According to Jesus, we who are His followers are to love God supremely and to love people around us.
Most of us understand in some measure what it means to love with all our hearts. When we find that special someone in life, we focus all our attention on him or her and on building that relationship. We want to spend long periods of time just talking to each other, getting acquainted, and learning all we can about each other’s likes and dislikes.
If we love God supremely, we will want to spend time with Him, reading His Word, getting to know Him, and living our lives in ways that are pleasing to Him. We will want to talk to Him about those things that are most important to us through prayer and pour out our hearts in worship.
Do you love God that way … so much so that you want to spend time with Him and please Him in all that you do?
The second part of Jesus’ answer is about loving others. Hawkins goes on:
[F]or thirty-three years He showed us what genuine love looks like: He was the very embodiment of love. Up until then, the best we could do was live on the level of this old commandment of loving others as we loved ourselves. He showed us by His life that true love is unlimited, unchanging, unselfish, and unconditional.
Therefore, on the night before He was crucified, Jesus gave us a “new commandment.” As He was about to leave us, He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 34– 35).
As New Testament believers, we are to love like Jesus loved. We are to love unselfishly and sacrificially. We are to love our neighbors (Matt. 22.39). We are to love our spouses and children (Eph. 5.25, Tit. 2.4). We are to even love our enemies (Matt. 5.44).
We cannot love that way in our own strength. It is only by loving God and understanding His great love for us, that we are able to bend that love out on others. It is only by His grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can love with Christ’s love.
Next week’s question: “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24.3).
Last week’s question: “Who is this?” (Matthew 21.10). Read it here.
I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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