The Greatest Commandment – Matthew 22:34-40

by Pastor John Fredericksen

Print This Article

What is your number one rule? There seems to be one for almost everything. In business, many think it is to believe in yourself, or have the right location. In sports, it may be solid fundamentals, or a strong competitive nature. In looking for a mate, some think it is being attractive, or having a good sense of humor. In Bible study, it is being consistent with the context of each passage, or studying it dispensationally. Nearly everyone has a number one rule for different categories.

When the Sadducees were unsuccessful in snaring the Lord Jesus in words they could use against Him, “a lawyer” (meaning a scribe who was considered an expert in the Mosaic Law) posed a question. He asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law” (Matthew 22:36)? During this time period it was debated whether animal sacrifices for sins, requirements for purification, keeping the Sabbath, or circumcision was the most important aspect of the Law. This question was designed to get different groups upset with the Savior for not agreeing with their position. Our Lord’s answer was a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5, where Moses implored Israel to keep all the commandments of God. But the Savior specified two commandments as the greatest: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. The second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The history of Israel had been that she only half-heartedly loved Jehovah, and surely this was the case with all who questioned the Savior. Religious activities and positions of power did not equate to a complete love for the Lord, or she would have been more responsive to the ministry of the Savior. Israel’s history had also been anything but one of love for one another. The Lord Jesus likely included this second rule of importance to strike conviction in this lawyer’s heart and in all who were seeking to harm Him. Clearly, their motives and actions were not ones of love, but of sinful deceit and envy.

While these two commandments apply directly to the Jews under the Law of Moses, there is surely a needed application for us under grace. The Lord still desires more from us than a half-hearted love. He wants our genuine love with all of our being. We are also to love one another. Today, let’s specifically ask the Lord to help us grow in both areas of love.

Free Mail Subscription

Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."