28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 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."
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.
Because God loves us and wants the very best for us, he has given us laws, rules and guidelines to help us live our lives I the best way. A long time ago, long before Jesus came to live among us, God gave commandments, or laws to his people. God also began showing them in special ways through some of his leaders how he wants people to live.
A lot of times we get confused about the right way to do something. The people in Jesus' day also got confused. Some very sincere people had the idea that God's way was too simple, so they added hundreds of rules of their own to God's rule. Following these human-made rules became so important and difficult that they forgot God's most basic commandment: to love God, your neighbor – or other people – and yourself.
So that everybody, everywhere, could live their lives together according to God's way, God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to teach and show all of us how to live. Because of Jesus' birth and life among us as one of us, his death on the cross of Good Friday and God's raising Christ to new life on Easter Sunday morn, we can be forgiven if we break God's law. When we are forgiven for doing something wrong, it means we can make a brand new beginning.
As we read the Gospels and learn about Jesus' life, we see and read about God's most important law or commandment of love, which is kindness in action and attitude. Jesus showed us that:
- Love has nothing to do with how we may feel at that moment;
- Love means we try our best to see the other person and his/her needs clearly;
- When we love, we sometimes have to forget about what we want;
- When we love, we help bring about God's reign or rule on earth. We also show other people what God's love is like, and help bring them closer to him.
- How does God want us to act toward each other?
- What one word tells us God's most important commandment?
- Why does God want us to treat each other this way?
- Who showed us how to do this commandment?
- Name some ways we can love each other.