It happened a long time ago in the middle of a debate. A new leader had shown up on the scene, but he was not known and vetted through traditional channels. He was known for the incredible things he did and the unusual authority he spoke with. People were drawn to him.
The establishment did not know what to do with him. He made outlandish claims. He did not pass through their institutions of learning. And yet, people were drawn to him. Some even said the hearts of the people were being won by him.
The establishment decided to trap him with their great intellect and knowledge. He needed to be discredited. The people needed to learn he was a fraud. So, in the middle of a debate where people were asking him questions, the “loaded” question was asked:
Which law is the most important to keep?
The establishment knew if he preferred one law over any other, they could discredit him and tarnish his reputation. It was a simple question. It was a loaded question. It was a baited question.
He responded with two statements that had nothing to do with the law, and yet, all of the law is held together and fulfilled through these two statements:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus spoke these words to the religious leaders of the day in response to the Law of Moses. In effect, He was saying, no law can be enforced in a useful way without a deep love for God and great compassion for people. These are the prerequisites for holding anything together in a helpful way.
To every follower of Christ, Jesus’ words have become known as the two greatest commandments.
Check back in a month for part 2 of this series.
Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center