Matthew 22:34-38 - All Means All
God expects ALL of your love, not SOME or even MOST of it.
Read / Listen
Read Matthew 22:34-38
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 4
Q. What does God’s law require of us?
A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22—
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
You are probably familiar with “gotcha journalism”. This is where the interviewer asks questions specifically designed to lead the interviewee to make a statement that is damaging to them or their cause. While prevalent today, this is far from a new tactic. From Matthew 22 we learn that this type of question was around during the time of Jesus.
This passage on the question of the great commandment in the Law comes within a series of questions meant to entrap Jesus. In their attempt to discredit Jesus’ authority as a teacher, the religious leaders brought before him questions that were designed to be unanswerable dilemmas.
While those present were likely expecting a quote from one of the 10 Commandments, Jesus instead answers the question by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 “5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Jesus does make one change, saying “with all your mind” instead of “all your might." Despite the change, this passage would have been familiar to those listening for it is part of the Shema, which would have been recited every day by devout Jews.
Details matter. Sometimes, however, we can get so lost in the details that we miss what is right in front of us. It is like looking everywhere around the house for your phone, only to realize that it is still in your pocket. By focusing on one thing, we can lose sight of everything else.
That appears to be the trap the religious leaders sprung on Jesus. They posed a question hoping he would pick one of the 10 Commandments as greatest, but instead Jesus chose to quote a different passage, citing the necessity of loving the Lord our God. Instead of picking one commandment, Jesus picks what could be considered a summary of the first 5 commandments.
The Rabbinic scholars of Jesus’ day recognized the overarching importance of loving God. This necessity has not changed; your relationship with God is not an exchange of goods where you offer your devotion in exchange for salvation.
The depth of God’s love for you is beyond your ability to comprehend.
God loves you, that is without question. The question Jesus asks you today is, do you fully love God?
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Open your prayer today the way God's people have for thousands of years, by reciting the Shema:
Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. And as for you, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for an increasing ability to keep this greatest commandment.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Mark 7