Last month we looked at Mark 12:30, where Jesus answers the questions, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” This month we are going to look at Jesus’ bonus answer. In Mark 12:31, He went on to tell us what the second greatest commandment is.
The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.[i]
I tend to think of myself as a loving person, but when I honestly compare myself to the Bible’s description of love, I see how unloving I am. Jesus tells us we should love others as ourselves. In practice, I too often look out for number one. I put my need
s, desires, and comforts above those of others. I’m quick to defend myself and stand up for my rights instead of truly caring about what others are going through.
I Corinthians 13 gives a more in depth description of love.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
How do you measure up? As I read it, I start to think of the many times that I am impatient with my children and with other people. I think about my pride when I view myself as better than others. I think of how often I am irritable and angry. I think about how I hold on to resentment. I think of how quickly I judge people and use it as an excuse to not love them. I think of how I avoid bearing the burdens of others because it is inconvenient to care. I’m guessing (actually I know) that if you are honest, you have to admit many of the same things.
Jesus is our example of what perfect love looks like. He loved the people who were hard to love. He loved the people who others looked down on. He loved when He was tired. He loved when it was inconvenient. In love, He sacrificially died in the place of unloving people who don’t deserve His love.
Jesus commanded us to love all people, but especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Wouldn’t it be great if United Lutheran was known for the great love that we have for one another! What if we weren’t quick to judge one another. What if we didn’t talk behind each other’s backs. What if we bore each other’s burdens? What if we sacrificed our time, and energy, and finances for one another? What if we demonstrated to our community what the love of Jesus looks like?
Jesus is the only one who can save us from our unloving sins, and He is the only one who can help us to follow His example of love. May He help our United Lutheran Church family to grow in love for one another more and more!
[i] All Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.