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. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV)
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with allthe understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Mark 12:28-34 (ESV)
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Luke 10:25-28 (ESV)
To quote Jeff Lynne, “I can’t get it out of my head.” In the Luke passage Jesus follows up by telling the parable of the good Samaritan. After telling it he asks who was the man’s neighbor. The lawyer correctly points out that it was the one who showed mercy. Jesus then tells him to do the same.
1 John 4:7-21 (ESV) says the following.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
There’s no getting around this love thing. I know that I haven’t always done a good job of showing love to those around me. It’s hard enough to love friends and family sometimes. It’s really difficult to love those we don’t like or agree with. However, Jesus covers that as well. In Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36 he tells us to love our enemies as well. I am convinced that we cannot truly be Christians if we don’t love others. We definitely can’t claim to follow Jesus if we hate others. Back in that passage from 1 John it says that if we don’t love, we don’t know God. That’s pretty heavy. I pray that God will generate that love within me because I know that it can only come from Him. To quote Lenny Kravitz, I pray that I can “let love rule.”
Grace and peace.