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The Great Commandment

The Life of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:04
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Matthew 22:34–36 ESV
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?”
Matthew 22:37–38 ESV
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.
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Religious Usage: a. Human Love for God. A series of texts concentrated especially in Deuteronomy exhorts and indeed commands that Israel shall love God. The classic example comes in the commandment that concludes the Shĕmaʿ in Deut 6:4–5: “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” This love that can be commanded by another has its conceptual roots, like the love of Jonathan, Israel, and Judah for David (see above), in the rhetoric of international relations in the ANE of the period, rather than from the sphere of conjugal intimacy. Rulers write to their equals with whom they are in treaty relationship concerning the importance of love; a ruler may command subject vassals to show love to the ruler as expression of their faithfulness to a treaty of protection provided by the ruler. Deuteronomy speaks of Israel’s love for God in the context of the covenant established at Sinai, using terminology familiar from the political rhetoric of the culture. Here the love that God commands from Israel is not primarily a matter of intimate affection, but is to be expressed by obedience to God’s commandments, serving God, showing reverence for God, and being loyal to God alone (10:12; 11:1, 22; 30:16). Despite the demand formulation, however, the inclusion of love in this series of requirements probably highlights the willingness with which Israel should walk with God.
Sakenfeld, K. D. (1992). Love: Old Testament. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 4, p. 376). New York: Doubleday.
Dt 10:12; 11:1, 22; 30:16
Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Deuteronomy 11:1 ESV
“You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.
Deuteronomy 11:22 ESV
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him,
Deuteronomy 30:16 ESV
If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
A specialized and important nuance of love between human beings, not normal to English usage, is its connotation of political loyalty. This usage is well illustrated in extra-biblical political texts of the 2d and 1st millennia from various parts of the ancient Near East outside of Israel (Moran 1963: 78–80), and is seen in the OT especially in the narratives concerning David, where we read that David is loved not only by Michal, but also by Saul (1 Sam 16:21), by Saul’s servants (1 Sam 18:22), by all Israel and Judah (18:16), by all Israel (18:28, following the LXX), and by Jonathan (18:1, 3; 20:17; 2 Sam 1:26). This range of persons and groups who love David requires at least that the term be extended to include admiration of his special qualities, such as musical ability or military prowess. More than that, there are clear political overtones. Jonathan’s love for David “as [Jonathan] loved himself” involves committing himself not just to David personally, but also to David’s political cause (Fishbane 1970: 314); this love is the narrator’s cue to the reader that even the potential blood heir to Saul’s throne has cast his lot with God’s anointed successor David. The references to the love of “all Israel” and of “all Israel and Judah” for David continue this nuance of political loyalty, and it is seen subsequently in the reference to Hiram of Tyre as David’s ʾōhēb (Qal part., “friend”), his political ally.
1 Samuel 16:21 ESV
And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.
1 Samuel 18:22 ESV
And Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now then become the king’s son-in-law.’ ”
2 Samuel 1:26 ESV
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.
Sakenfeld, K. D. (1992). Love: Old Testament. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 4, p. 376). New York: Doubleday.We are to Love God with all our Heart
self ⇔ heart n. — the focus of a person’s thoughts (mind), volition, emotions, and knowledge of right from wrong (conscience).
The heart is part of the inner man. It is the reflection of how we think and feel.
Feelings; freely; kindly; midst; man; bowel; seat of feeling and passion; inclination; desire;
2 Corinthians 3:3 ESV
And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

We are to Love God with all our Soul

soul n. — the immaterial part of a person which is the actuating cause of an individual life; the site of all the psychological faculties (such as the heart, mind, and conscience).
life; lives; person; inner self; individual self; breath
Joshua 22:5 ESV
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

We are to Love God with all our Mind

thought; intention; purpose; understanding; intelligence; way of thinking; be ready to learn; disposition; plan
Nehemiah 9:17 ESV
They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
The Mark and Luke accounts and the term strength.
Mark 12:30 ESV
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Luke 10:27 ESV
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:39 ESV
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Leviticus 19:18 ESV
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
to love (care) v. — to have a great affection or care for or loyalty towards. take pleasure in...
The New American Commentary: Matthew 1. True Discipleship versus Harsher Condemnation for the Jewish Leaders (19:1–22:46)

The relationship of all the Old Testament to the double love commandment shows that there is a hierarchy of law that above all requires one’s heart attitude to be correct. If this is absent, obedience to commandments degenerates into mere legalism.

Matthew 22:40 ESV
On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
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