Some thoughts from a devotional someone shared with me.
Jesus speaks in the simplest terms to uncomplicate the purest truth and purpose of the Law. The Law was given to show us exactly how far removed we are in our nature from the righteousness of God. The Law requires me to lift a weight that is humanly impossible to lift, and if I try to lift it in my own strength and hold it up, it will crush me.
The Pharisees knew all the requirements of the law and earnestly tried to obey it to the best of their ability. The one requirement that ultimately proved impossible to fulfill stood like an immovable object in Deuteronomy 6:5, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Rather than wrestle through the meaning of every law and how to live it out, Jesus focuses on the one law, that if truly obeyed, a person would be motivated to obey all of God’s commands. Consequently, when any one of the other commandments was violated, any claim to loving God wholly was made void.
Jesus laid before these scholars of the Law a paradox. He challenges them to do something that is humanly impossible to do. He’s showing them the only way to please God, while they know in their hearts they can’t even keep the first commandment. Jesus is laying the ground work as their consciences are challenged to come to grips with their hopeless condition as they converse with the only Man that is pleasing God.
The first commandment is greater than the sum of all the commandments, and the righteousness of Jesus is greater than all the righteousness of all men combined.
“The ONE is greater than the sum”
The preface to the first and greatest commandment is Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Jesus is the One, the only One, who ever loved God with all His heart, with all His soul, with all His mind, and with all His strength; the first and only “man” to fill the first and greatest commandment.
Matthew 3:17 says, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
John 1:17 says, For the Law was through Moses (a man), but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (the Man).
Carol Tirondola is on staff with the Partner Care team at America’s Keswick. She and her best friend, Mario, have been married for 35 years. They have 2 sons and 2 daughters-in-law that they call their “BFFs.” They also have 7 precious gems called grandchildren. Her family has savored many memories of the heart made at Keswick over the last 35+ years and she is thrilled to serve on staff!