A Video In Remembrance of Joshua Hernandez
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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
One of my favorite passages in Scripture. Here I want to look at the last verse. “Love Your Neighbor as yourself”. Sounds simple enough. Love my neighbors. This is something we hear all the time. We usually interpret it as “love everybody”. I’ve heard before things like “You don’t have to like everyone, just love them.” I’d like to go a bit deeper into what Jesus is saying here.
First, the word love. There are many words for love in the Greek and Hebrew, each meaning different things. Jesus chose agapao. This means “To welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly” (1). Jesus is saying to love our neighbors, but not just to love them, but to be fond of them. In essence, He is saying to be kind to them and, basically, just to love them.
So, now some of us might wonder, what does He mean by neighbor? Blue Letter Bible puts it like this: “According to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet” (2)
I think this is a very accurate definition of neighbor. Anybody and everybody you meet is your neighbor.
Now, the last word. Yourself. I think this is one of the most important parts of the verse. You love yourself don’t you? You don’t want yourself to get hurt. You try to please yourself. In fact, most of us care about ourselves more than anyone else. That’s just because it impacts us the most. And here, Jesus is saying to love a stranger as much as you love yourself. Think about that. Loving someone that much? When you think about it, that’s sounds difficult. But it’s biblical. It is said numerous times… love your neighbor as yourself.
Also, notice the importance of this. Jesus says that this is the most important thing you do, other than loving the Lord, which takes place over anything. He says that this is all you need to follow. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love your neighbor as yourself, then the rest will fall in place. If you love them that much, you wouldn’t lie. If you love them that much, you wouldn’t hurt them. If you truly love God and everybody, you would follow all of the others!
But the truth is, since sin has entered the world, we cannot do this. I’m not saying that if you lie to your parents, it doesn’t mean you love them. We will all fall short. What I am saying is that the best thing you can do as a Christian is just love others. Love for strangers isn’t found (much) in the secular world. That is what separates us from the world. We have Christ’s love.
So, here is a summary of what I’m trying to say. Jesus is saying that all we have to do is love Him more than anything, and fondly love anyone and everyone we meet. Doesn’t mean you have to particularly like them, but it does mean that in a situation where most people would cuss out the other person, we forgive and pray for them.