In Mathew Chapter 22, a Pharisees or Sadducees tries to test and trap Jesus with a question of which is the greatest commandment. Probably expecting an exposition on the Law of Moses or of the Ten Commandments, to their astonishment Jesus wraps the answer into a sentences, “the great commandment is to love God and to love your neighbors”
The Pharisees and Sadducees were people who respected the letter of the Law and they were very particular that they would not break any of them. Their obedience to the letter of the law at most times affected the spirit of the law. This in other words is what we call as legalism. There is no love and human touch in legalism and legalistic judgement. Here the Pharisees or Sadducees may I call them the legal experts had forgotten the very idea that God is a God of love. Love in proper is the image of God; for God is love. The essence of the scripture was missed to human interpretations. The Jewish reverence to the God became a ritual than an attitude to worship
In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Apostle Paul expounds on the commandment of Love.
Paul here begins with comparing Love with the spiritual gifts and says that if I have all the spiritual gifts and have no love then I am like an empty vessel making noise. (Empty vessels makes more noise) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass.
Especially with the charismatic movement emphasis has been given to attain more spiritual gift and abilities. We seek for more anointing, we seek for more Prophecy, we seeks for more emotional satisfaction, we want to dwell on the externals. Sadly emotions have taken over the entire movement. Faith is not Emotions. Christianity is not Emotions.
Though I have gift of prophecy, and understanding all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all the faith, so that I could remove mountains, but I have no love, I am nothing.
Though I do all charity but I have no love, I profit nothing. Everything in Christian Faith begins with LOVE. (Gal 5:6, 14) We have all spiritual talents, we have all the wealth, we have everything that we require and we can think of, but is love missing from our midst, from our families, from our Churches and congregations? We have knowledge of everything in the world but we are not aware of the parents sitting on the same pew in our church who cannot afford to send their kids to school.
“Revelation 2:2-4, I know your work, your labour, your patience, your perseverance…Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
The basic elements of Love
Love is patient, love is kind. This is the kind of love with which God loves us, he is patient and kind with us, he bears all our tantrums, misdoings and forgives us all our sins. He wants us to love him and love our neighbors with the same kind of love, bearing and forgiving one another.
Usually when we hear about the word neighbors, we have a question who is our neighbor? I would say neighbor is not necessarily the one who lives next doors. Neighbor is someone who stays around, sits next to you in the bus or a cab, or in the cubicle next to you at your work place, the person who is part of your congregation, they could be those scores of men and women we meet everyday. Love them as God loves you.
Love does not envy, it is not jealous of your neighbour’s achievements; it does not back bite or spread rumors and stories or gossip. Love does not boast. Loves makes you consider others better than the yourself. True Loves compels you not to discriminate or look down on others; for love does not parade itself or is puffed up.
All our gifting and abilities, strengths and achievements will fail one day but love stand still through eternity. His love gives me the FAITH and HOPE.
The foundational pillar of Christian Life is not in our external or emotional as many have interpreted it in recent decades. The pillars of my Christian life are FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. Three things will last forever and the Greatest of this is Love.
FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ, Faith that I can trust him at all times, faith that gives me the assurance of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
HOPE that I am going to see my saviour face to face one day and to live an everlasting life which is my true abode. (this world is not my home, I am just passing through)
BUT the greatest of these is LOVE