But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22: 34-40).
Again the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into saying something that would cause the people to lose faith in Him and make Him look bad. What did Jesus do? He answered by talking about love. It is awfully hard to argue with love.
Let us consider these words of Jesus. If we want to please God and be good examples for others we need to heed to one law in particular- the law of love!
In the Bible love is a really big deal. I John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Galatians 5:22 lists love in the description of the fruit of the Spirit. Of course, God’s love is much greater than human love- it is selfless and sacrificial. Ephesians 5:2 exhorts us to “… walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and
hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
“Love God” is the first and great commandment. Our love for God is to be all-out and all-consuming. Notice the phrases- with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Exodus 20:3 lets us know that complete loyalty is required with these words: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the second commandment. I John 4:8 says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I John 4:20 simply states that if we say we love God and hate someone- we are liars. That is straightforward, isn’t it? In order to fulfill the law of love we have to show love- not just talk love.
Jesus said all of the law and all that the prophets had said hang on these two commandments. He did not come to destroy these laws; He came to fulfill them. He let us know that love is the key.
We live right because we love God and we don’t want to disappoint Him. We treat others right because we love them and would never want to intentionally bring them harm.
This is what the law of love is all about. It is hard to argue with love, isn’t it?
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.