- Alan Salwei
Matthew 22:39 / Leviticus 19:9-18 - It's Not Just About God & Me
One of the primary ways to show your love for God is by loving others.
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Read Matthew 22:39 / Leviticus 19:9-18
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12 You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
13 “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.
17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
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.
Yesterday we read how Jesus responded to a question on which is a great commandment by teaching us to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Jesus follows this up with a second commandment, which he says is like the first, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
While the love of God is a central aspect of our faith, this love also extends to our fellow man. While we love God with all that we have, our call is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
As it was with yesterday’s text, we find these words are also not unique to the New Testament. In fact, Jesus' words in Matthew 22:39 appear to come as a direct quote of Leviticus 19:18.
This section of Leviticus deals with how God’s people are to treat one another. This expression of loving your neighbor as yourself has little to do with feelings towards your neighbor and is more so directed at how you treat your neighbor. This can be seen in the provisions found in this section of Leviticus, which include leaving fallen grapes for the poor, not stealing or withholding wages, and generally treating others well.
While not raised to the same regard as loving the Lord your God, the command to love your neighbor comes in what may have been Jesus’ very next breath. Just as Jesus displayed a great love for others, so must his followers. As followers of Christ, our gratitude for the grace of Jesus is displayed not only in our devotion to God, but also in our love for our fellow man.
When considering what it means to love your neighbor, much of what is described in Leviticus 19 falls under the category of “don’t be a jerk." That might sound like a harsh way to phrase it, but it does fit the bill of what we find there. When you have time, read Leviticus 19:9-19 again, it essentially contains a list of what NOT to do if you are living out the command to love your neighbor as yourself.
How you treat people matters. Even if you are not a “people person," it is still important to treat others well because of the importance Jesus placed on loving your neighbor. Loving your neighbor as yourself is a clear example of faith leading to action. Jesus called his followers to action: to go and do. This is what we see in this call to love your neighbor, it is the action that stems from a sincere faith. Follow the example of Jesus by treating others well, for that is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is the LORD, the God of all justice.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to help you see opportunities to tangibly love your neighbors and to give you conviction to do so.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Mark 8