Today’s Daily Lesson comes from Mark chapter 12 verses 28 through 31:
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ 29Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you 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.” 31The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he answered with two. The first is the call to love God. This is our chief end. All things flow from and to this ultimate love. We love God and God alone for God’s own sake. All other loves belong to this first love.
But that first love cannot be separated from the love of neighbor. The two belong together. To love God is always also to love those around us. We may love God alone for God’s own sake; but we cannot love God alone, period. Love of God must always mean love of neighbor. For in loving neighbor we in turn love not only neighbor, but also God. So when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, he said the love of God and then gave us the example of loving God through the love of our neighbor.
And not only the love of our neighbor; but the love of our neighbor as ourself. This then necessitates a third love — the love of our own selves. We cannot love neighbor as ourself without also loving ourselves. So then there are three commandments: to love self, to love our neighbor, and to love each of those for the sake of a third love, the love of God.
I love that!