Read Mark 12:28-37.
Devotion by: Kara Kennedy
Which is the Great Commandment?
The Buddha taught that the ultimate purpose of life is to achieve a state of Nirvana, in which all form of desire and self are completely extinguished into abject nothingness.
But Jesus taught that we should live life in all its fullness and worship God by truly living. The Greatest Commandment establishes the order and richness of the full-color life that Jesus invites us into:
1. Love God with absolutely all of you. He commands us to worship Him with
our heart [our desires, dreams, relationships, art...],
our soul [our prayer life, spirit, complete self, existential being…],
our mind [our studies, business, reasoning, discoveries…]
our strength [our bodies, health, perseverance, abilities…].
In this commandment He invites us to worship God in every moment of every day, to be consumed by His glory as evidenced in every aspect of our life and creation, to recognize that worship is a way of life that cannot fit into a timeslot on Sunday but that permeates all our existence.
2. Love yourself and then your neighbor (v.31). We are broken in two ways as we relate to one another: we selfishly pursue our own interests while ignoring others, making idols of ourselves, or we fix our attention so much on others that we ignore and even demean ourselves with an ill-informed understanding of humility. In a single command Jesus brilliantly addresses both sins by inviting us to love each of His image-bearers with equal passion: ourselves and our neighbors. He invites us to recognize our God-given dignity, and to invest the time to love and care for ourselves, and then commands us to pour that same love into the lives of others.
Jesus once described the Kingdom of Heaven as a King throwing a great Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:2), inviting all who would come to enjoy the richest meats and finest wines (Isaiah 25:6). He invites us here, in His Greatest Commandment, to come to that Feast, to taste and see that He is good, to live according to His order and to discover what it means to truly live.