The Greatest Commandment

When Jesus addressed this in Mark 12:28-34

“One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

The Shema is the most important prayer in Jewish custom. It is literally said twice per day. It comes from:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your Heart and with all your Soul and with all your Strength.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:4-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Hear = Listen and Obey

Lord = Yahweh (The actual name of God)

Love = Ahavah, God's love is! The deepest kind like that of a parent and a spouse but also for everyone, forever. It’s is part of God’s character, who God is… is Love.

Heart = will & affections… your whole body and mind, feelings and desires, future and failings. The center of who you are, of all parts of human existence (at that time people had no understanding of the anatomy of the physical heart or brain)

Soul = Your entire life and physical being / existence! You don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul.

Strength = actually means “very much”. Everything possible. All your resources and capacities.

“Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:29-31‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Rewritten - What the command was and what Jesus was literally saying:

“ Listen and Obey oh Israel. Yahweh our God, the Lord is one. With the deepest kind of forever love, love Yahweh our God and with all of your will and affections, your whole body and mind, feelings and desires… with your entire life and physical being and existence… and with everything possible, all your resources and capacity, Love God very much.”

When you can love like that, you are not far from the kingdom of God either.

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