On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
The Pharisees often challenged Jesus on His understanding of the law, and mostly the things of God. To them, the observance of the Law of Moses and the traditions of the Jews, were most important to live what they considered to be a righteous life. So, it’s no surprise that they would ask Jesus, the confessed Son of God “What is the greatest law?” What law is most important to God? Thinking that Jesus would choose something simple like observing the Sabbath, thou shall not murder, or commit adultery, (something that the Pharisees had already mastered), Jesus’ response instead challenges their lack of commitment to fulfill two of the most important laws that embody everything they value. Jesus said the greatest commandments are, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And second is like the first, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving God and others are the two most important laws that exemplify righteousness. Having a spiritual, loving, and intimate relationship with our God in heaven, that results in us extending that love towards our brothers and sisters here on earth, truly shows that one is a disciple. They go hand in hand, forming a love contract.
However, the sad reality is people often only fulfill one side of the contract. The love that many confess to have for God, doesn’t always result in them showing love to others. The teachings of Jesus as it relates to loving our neighbors, the stranger, the foreigner, even the least of these, has far too often been missing in our spiritual practices and love contracts evidenced by a surge in violence, killings & massacres, increased acts of hate, malice, & bigotry, and xenophobic rhetoric running rapid in many of our communities. But love for God can only truly be legitimate if it transcends to having a love for others. As Jesus said, how can we love God who we never physically seen before, but hate our brothers and sisters who we see every day? How can we worship God wholeheartedly and honor the Word, but fail to act on the most crucial parts of the Word? Loving God and others are the most important part of our spiritual development. Exalting our Creator and serving God’s creation, are the most important items to this love contract. You cannot agree to one, without the other.