So the books have arrived and with one week to go [well three days] until launch number 1 [which is totally FULL UP], i thought i would give a more sizeable taste of what you can expect.
One of the chapters in the book is titled, ‘6 passages the church needs to take more seriously’ and while i do believe the church needs to take the whole bible seriously, these were 6 particular passages that stand out to me, that we REALLY need to start getting more right more frequently.
And this is the first of those:
[#] Matthew 22.34-40:
”Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him
with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself’. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”.
This is the whole Bible summed up in four words for me – Love
God, Love people. Whenever it gets confusing or complicated or
whatever, i think it is good to head back to this foundation of the
church and be reminded of what it is all about.
What i’ve noticed about this passage is that it seems like a
contradiction if we approach it mathematically. If you love God
with ALL your heart, soul and mind then you actually have nothing
left to do any more loving with, because you’ve used it all up
already, right? i mean, that’s what ALL means surely?
Unless you realise that the two commandments are not to be taken
separately at all. As we “love your neighbour as yourself” so we are
demonstrating our loving of God with all our heart, soul, mind.
Loving God means doing His will and His will is that we love other
people and so by loving others, we demonstrate our love of God.
So it is more a two part commandment than two different rules
for living. If we love God with everything, then it will naturally
pour out into loving people around us. And as we love the people
around us, so we are demonstrating love for God because we are
obeying His command.
The second thing to note is Jesus’ little p.s., “All the Law and the
Prophets hang on these two commandments”.
What were the Law and the Prophets? It was Jesus’ Bible. It was
the Jewish scripture and if we continue the metaphor on to us
today now that the New Testament has been written we can take it
to mean that the whole of scripture hangs on those two simple
commands. Love God, love people. Simple in understanding but
not so simple when we try and live them out all the time.
If the church could keep on coming back to this passage when
things get tough or complicated, we would cover a multitude of
sins and confusions and unnecessary conflicts. When we have a
denominational issue, when someone in leadership is caught in
sin, when we are deciding how to use the budget, when there is a
public debate on abortion or homosexuality, do we approach it
from the point of view of, “Is this loving God?” and “Is this loving
This is the foundation – everything hangs on these two ideas.
We need to keep on going back there and holding firmly to
them. And if anything we are doing or saying or getting involved
in is ever contrary to either of them, then we need to really
rethink and replan and do things differently.
As one rabbi said, “Love God, love people, all the rest is
commentary”. If Jesus says this is the most important thing, how
dare we ever make anything else the most important thing?
To find out what the other 5 passages are, you’re just going to have to get the book… [or ask me what the other five passage are – either way.]