34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When the Sadducees and Pharisees try to trap Jesus into promoting one law above another, Jesus silences their vigorous opposition by revealing that the foundation and reason behind Biblical law is love. The whole purpose we are here on earth is to love God with everything we are. “Love the Lord your God” is the declaration of humankind, saying God is our God and He is the only God. Thus, we will love Him with everything we are and with all we have – with our heart, which is our moral center, with our soul, which is the seat of our affection and will, and with our mind, which is where our thoughts and intellect live. From the same foundational love that we have for God flows the love we have for our neighbor and ourselves. Our love for others and ourselves is both the illustration and the evidence of our love for God and His unconditional love for us. When Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself, he means that with the care and concern we have for our own interests, we should also care and have concern for the interests of others. From these two commands emerge all others. If this is the core of Scripture, how are we acting upon it in our day-to-day lives? How do we intentionally love God? How do we intentionally love our neighbor and ourselves?