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 neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-38
Listen: Matthew 22
An expert in the Old Testament Law wanted to trap Jesus with this question, “Which commandment is the greatest?” Jesus response is love the Lord and to love others. Not only did he teach this, but he lived it out as well. He showed mercy and grace to sinners like Matthew, the tax collector. He also treated the Pharisees with love and mercy. He showed mercy, and he desired his followers to do the same.
Throughout history, there were times when Jesus’ followers did this well and times when they didn’t. In the third century, the Roman world was ravaged by a great plague which killed up to two-thirds of the population of Alexandria. Christians risked their lives to care for those affected whiles others fled and hid.
Though we are not in the midst of a plague, we have plenty of opportunities to respond as these early Christians did. Jesus doesn’t just show us mercy—he desires mercy from us. He calls us to love radically flawed people just as they are. Those who come to know the friend of sinners will be a friend of sinners.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Spend a few minutes and reflect on Jesus’ response in today’s verse. Ask yourself, “Do I love God with all my heart and do I love others as Jesus calls me to?” Think of one person you have a hard time loving and write down one small action you can do to love them this week.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.