Blake Allen, Student and Outreach Minister, LHBC

Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

In 1984, Tina Turner released her most famous song “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” This song was the only one of Turners to reach the Billboard 100 No. 1 single. Given the song by her manager, Roger Davies, Turner recorded a hit that would eventually lead to a Grammy Award. What’s interesting to note is that had it not been for the influence of her manager, Turner would have never recorded the song.  Turner actually hated the song. It was an anti-love song devoid of heartfelt emotions. To Turner, love actually had everything to do with. Love was the motivation. 

When we turn to Matthew 22, Jesus gives us the motivation behind all that we do and the purpose of God’s commandments. The religious leaders of the day were trying to find ways to set Jesus up. They were looking for ways to prove he was a false teacher. They were trying to falsely prove that we can measure our righteousness by how well we obey God’s commands. The only problem is we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We sin daily! If our justification comes through the law of works, then we are all doomed! Thank the Lord our salvation does not depend upon us. The religious leaders were a people of rules and regulations, but Jesus was a person of grace. He is the only one without sin. He is the only one who upheld the law perfectly. He is the perfect sacrifice and our resurrection hope!

So when posed the question, “which of the commandments is the greatest commandment,” Jesus knew He was being tested. There were possibly up to 613 total laws that existed. They were hoping Jesus would stumble by saying some laws were more important than others. They were hoping Jesus would mistakenly form a hierarchy system in which some laws were devalued or treated as unimportant. They were hoping Jesus would implicitly give his followers permission to disregard these “lesser laws.” By doing so, His followers would break some of God’s commands and give the religious leaders an opportunity to show that Jesus was leading them astray.  

Knowing their hearts, Jesus responds in a prophetic way. He sums up all 613 Old Testament laws into two commandments: 1) Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Both of these commandments had one motivation: love. 

Love has everything to do with it. But if we are honest, we often struggle to love God and people well. The only reason we are able to love God and others is not because we have fulfilled all that God requires. Our sinfulness prevents us from perfectly living out God’s commandments. In fact, it’s why Jesus came to earth in the first place. He loved the Father by doing the will of the Father who sent him. He loved people by laying down his life for the redemption of all who will place their faith in Him. Love was the motivation of the cross. And we love because He first loved us. 

This is why we exist at Living Hope. We want to love God and love people. The reason why we know, grow, and go is because it reflects our DNA of loving God and loving people. Love is the motivation. What’s love got to do with this? Everything. 

Dear Heavenly Father, may the mark we leave on this earth be a reflection of the love that was displayed on the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Psalm 130:5- I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope.