Together in Christ: 'Most Important!' — Matthew 22:35-37

Thursday, November 21, 2024

One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap [Jesus] with this question: "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"
 
Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
— Matthew 22:35-37 NLT

Key Thought

God began His ten commandments with these words:

"I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
"You must not have any other god but me.
"You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods."
 [1]

God's commandments are based on the identity of God, Who revealed Himself as YHWH. [2] His identity is the foundation on which we must build our lives, find meaning, determine morality, and pursue character. To allow anyone, or anything, to reign on the throne of our heart is to dishonor God. However, more than wanting to demand our allegiance, God wants us to look at all He has done for us in His creation and His gift of Christ and love Him. [2] So, when religious leaders asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, He didn't hesitate. We are to love God with all we think, feel, and do. YHWH must be the ordering center of our lives. Our lives must find their orbit around God and His love, grace, and mercy. As Paul told the Romans:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing your thoughts. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.[3]
[1] Exodus 20:2–5.
[2] Romans 5:6-11.
[3] Romans 12:1-2.

Today's Prayer

Forgive me, O Lord God, for letting other things crowd into my heart and displacing You as the central orientating and ordering influence in my life. Your vast love for me — demonstrated in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection — has captured my heart. Please accept my life, all of me, as my offering to You. I give it to You gladly and thankfully because of the love You lavished on me with grace and mercy. I praise and thank you in Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 John 1:1-4, 3:1-3, 4:7-19
  • Romans 12:1-21

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Illustration

Illustration of Matthew 22:35-37 NLT — One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap [Jesus] with this question: "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"   Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.