The Highest Good! That’s the question a teacher of the law posed to the Teacher – Of all the commandments, which is the most important?
Jesus doesn’t hesitate to answer. Surprisingly, He doesn’t mention one of the Ten Commandments. Instead…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
The man is so impressed by this answer – “Well said, Teacher,” the man replied…”To love him with all your heart…and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
It was now Jesus’ turn to be impressed by this man - When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
Though steeped in a religion pre-occupied with traditions and external rituals, this man gets it. He’s not far from the kingdom of God, because love is what the kingdom of God is all about.
The Father’s love! Jesus’ love! The love of the Holy Spirit!
The Teacher wants His students to know the ultimate test of our relationship with God. And it isn’t how religious we appear. It is the degree of love in our hearts for God and our neighbors?
The Teacher says the most important question is do we love God!
True religion fosters the love of God in our hearts. Mere religious busywork and focus on external performance leaves the heart unaffected or worse. Without love, very religious people can be mean-spirited, even crucify the Lord!
Love! This is still the Teacher’s answer today. And only this Teacher can lead His students into greater possession of it.