Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.
35 One of them, an expert in the Law, tested him with this question:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Two basic rules
Two basic rules for life. “Love God wholeheartedly, and love your neighbour as yourself.” I am sure the word “love” used here is the sort of love that is self-giving and unconditional, which Jesus spoke about, and showed us.
Knowing the Spirit of God, in whom we all live and move and have our being, is not easy, without the help of Jesus, who gave us this rule, and showed us what God is like. But loving him is not at all easy in our over-busy lives. Can we really become quiet enough to be aware of him, to know him and his love, and to listen to him?
Are we able to respond to him with wholehearted love, which underpins all we do and all we are? If we are able to love him wholeheartedly, gradually he changes our characters so that we can move from putting “me first”, to putting others, and their welfare, first, and fulfilling the second rule. And as we love others, we begin to know God. As Jesus’ friend, John, wrote in his 1st letter, “The people who love, know God, and God’s spirit lives in them.”
Fulfilling the rule of love may be very costly: it was for Jesus a laying down of his life for others. But, of course, it can be very very rewarding People can usually respond positively to love, and being loved helps them to also become lovers, and so in some way to know God.
All this I found to be so true for me, as medical practitioner, in the villages of India and in suburban Melbourne.
John Cranswick worked as a doctor in rural communities in South India, and as a GP in Melbourne.