November 15: Our Sacred Duty (Matthew 22:34-40)
This Sunday Nik Lingle will continue the Christians and Culture series at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)
For the third time in this last week of Jesus' life and ministry, the religious leadership questions Jesus. They ask, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" Is this another effort to discredit Jesus and dissuade people from following him, or do they really desire to follow God? As the context reveals, it is the former. In spite of the hardness of their hearts, Jesus instructs all who desire to listen that our most sacred and profound duty is to love God with everything we have and everything we are. The natural evidence and result of this will be to love our neighbor as ourselves. The whole redemptive plan of God is intended to create worshippers like this. Jesus will of course be the model for this, as he does in fact love God with all his heart, soul and mind and he loves us as himself. Consider the love you have for God as you read this passage.
Review and Apply
1. Define what a healthy skepticism would look like.
2. From this and prior passages, what is the reason for such hardness of heart?
3. What traces of hardness remain in your own heart?
4. Define in your own terms "loving God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind."
5. Where is evidence of this in your life?
6. Explain the nature of the relationship between loving God and neighbor.
7. What is the purpose of "as yourself" in terms of loving neighbor? How does it explain how to love neighbor?
8. Give examples in your life or obstacles preventing you from loving in this way?