Today we want offer you some food for thought. So often we get bogged down with the Ten Commandments, many times for no other reason than it is hard to remember all ten. There are lots of other excuses we often use, but remembering all ten is often near the top of the list. And if you cannot recite all ten, then it is almost impossible to live all ten out. Let us be clear from the beginning, we are not discounting the Law or trying to water it down, but instead we are simply proposing a way to live out all Ten Commandments that focuses on two commandments given by Jesus, and by doing so, you are obeying all ten.
As you are probably aware, the Ten Commandments are the moral code of conduct that God expects of humanity. The Bible tells us that God inscribed these commandments on two tablets which He gave to Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:12). They appear twice in the Old Testament, first in Exodus 20:1-17 and then again in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The first four commandments are directed at our conduct towards God and the last six are directed at our conduct with and towards other people.
Now we want to look to the New Testament. Jesus was asked a question as to which is the greatest commandment in the Law. This story is recorded in both Matthew 22:37-40 and Mark 12:29-31. Today we will be looking at the verses as recorded in Mark’s Gospel.
In Mk 12:28 we see the question that was asked of Jesus – One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
And in 12:29-31, Jesus gives this response – “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
So, just who is your neighbor? In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37), Jesus expands the definition of neighbor from those in close proximity to anyone with whom you come in contact with. And here is the rub, it includes loving your enemies (Mt 5:43-48).
Here is our food for thought. If you love God and love your neighbor, then in actuality you will be living out all ten of the commandments. When we love God, we are obeying the first four commandments, and when we love other people, we are obeying the remaining six. If we love the Lord God with all our heart, soul and mind, then loving our neighbor is an outflow of loving God.
New Bern, North Carolina