Now for the third of four questions in a row. This one comes from the Pharisees again, who have witnessed Jesus shutting down the Sadducees. They send a lawyer to test him. Which is the greatest commandment? he asks.
He calls Jesus “teacher” and asks a question you might ask a teacher of the law, but his intent is to cause Jesus to stumble somehow and possibly lose some popular support.
Jesus doesn’t stumble. He answers with what Scot McKnight calls The Jesus Creed.
The greatest commandment is to love God with everything you are.
It is important to remember that love is not an emotional response to another, but a commitment to another. In this case, it is an absolute commitment. Nothing, nothing, nothing is more important than God.
And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. We have heard it so much we probably can barely hear it anymore. Notice that we are not to love our neighbor and be selfless, but to have the same commitment to our neighbors that we have to ourselves. I suppose that would include family.
It really is a restatement, in other words, of the golden rule. Jesus summed up the Sermon on the Mount with the golden rule. Now he sums up his whole body of teaching with The Jesus Creed.
Jesus came to fulfill the law. So here you go: it all gets to this. Love God; love your neighbor.