After all, in just a few words, Jesus answers a difficult question, asked by a teacher of the law (Matthew 22:34). The reason it is a difficult question is it puts Jesus in a bind. When the lawyer asks Jesus, for instance, which of the laws is the greatest, it appears that Jesus can answer in one of two ways. First, he can share that only one of the commandments is the greatest, which will lead the Pharisees to accuse him of ignoring the other commandments; or, second, he can say that all the commandments are great, which will lead the Pharisees to accuse him of being weak and not actually answering the question.
Of course, Jesus could have said that all the Ten Commandments were important, and he could have said that the Book of Leviticus was the most important expression of God’s law. He would have been on good ground. But he could also have said the first five books of the Bible – the Torah – contained everything people needed to know about God’s salvation.
But Jesus takes a different route: what Jesus does is give a tweet-sized response. He says, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the greatest commandment. And a second it is like: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (vv. 37-39).
In 74 characters, Jesus says, the whole thing hangs on that (v. 40).
What do you think is truly great about Jesus' response? What do you feel is important about how Jesus not only says it, but then actually does it, backing it up with his own life and death?
Pastor Andy Kinsey