Fervent Day 15 The Call To Family: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out The Call To Family!

The Questions

1) What does it mean in everyday life to love God with all your heart, soul and mind? (verse 37)

2) Why is it equally important to love your neighbor as it is to love God? (verse 39)

3) What does it mean for all the law and prophets to depend on these two commands? (verse 40)

Matthew 22:35-40

35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Original Intent

1) What does it mean in everyday life to love God with all your heart, soul and mind? (verse 37)
When Jesus said the first, and greatest commandment was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37), He was referencing Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus’ followers and the Jewish leaders who were listening would have immediately recognized this strong connection to the foundation of their Old Testament Law. Author K. J. Went explains, “It is part of the Jewish Shema, the creedal declaration of faith, that is of paramount importance to every Jewish believer and indeed to Jesus (Mark 12:29) and the early church.” The command is not just to profess your love, but to live it out with every part of your being. K. J. Went continues, “the emphasis is on loving and obeying with ‘everything you’ve got’.” God asks us to focus on our relationship with Him in every area of our lives. He isn’t asking for us just to give Him our love with lip-service, but rather to give Him everything in every area of life. He alone is worthy of holding first place in our hearts and all things. He, as the Source of all things, wants us to turn to Him for our every need and meditate on His Word. Author William Barclay describes this all-consuming love of God as “a love which dominates our emotions, a love which directs our thoughts, and a love which is the dynamic of our actions.” God’s love for us is pure and everlasting. He loved us so much He gave His Son Jesus for us. (John 3:16) Let us turn to Him with hearts, souls, and minds full of love for Him!

2) Why is it equally important to love your neighbor as it is to love God? (verse 39)
Jesus told the Pharisees and His followers the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, was as important as the greatest command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:35-40) Jesus referenced this concept from Leviticus 19:18. It is echoed again in the New Testament when Mark tells the same story of Jesus’ words (Mark 12:30-31) and in Matthew 7:12 when Jesus says do for others as you want them to do for you. There are other instances of this concept in Romans 13:9 and James 2:8, as well as additional references; clearly this is a big deal! Jesus emphasizes these two commands because they equally represent the message of the Old Testament and the Gospel. It all boils down to love. Author Conrad Mbewe asserts, “We are called to love all human beings indiscriminately whether they love us or hate us. The simple fact is this: if they need our help, then God has so ordered providence that we are aware of it. If you are in a better place than your neighbour, God has commanded you to reach out to them in love.”  Reaching out in love is reaching out with the hands of God. It is sharing the love of Jesus that has been shared with us. God is love, and He emphasizes this by loving others through us. To Him they are the same thing, and He wants us to be the mirror that reflects His love to our neighbors.

3) What does it mean for all the law and prophets to depend on these two commands? (verse 40)
When Jesus said that the law and the prophets depended on the two greatest commands to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40), He was telling us these commands encompass the entire message of God. Author Adam Clarke suggests, “They are like the first and last links of a chain, all the intermediate ones depend on them. True religion begins and ends in love to God and man. These are the two grand links that unite God to man, man to his fellows, and men again to God.”  The Pharisees Jesus was talking to (Matthew 22:35) could not dispute His claim. As author Peter Pett explains, “Jesus went right to the heart of the matter, citing Deuteronomy 6:5. This could hardly fail to meet with their approval for it was in fact a verse which was central to Jewish worship, and repeated by every good Jew each day.” According to author James Burton Coffman, Jesus’ answer was also technically true because “The first five words of the decalogue [Ten Commandments] deal with man’s relation to God, and the second five have to do with man’s relationship to men.” Everything God taught His people in the Old Testament was pointing them to love God and love their neighbors. If they could do those two things well, they would exemplify every law, every command, and every teaching of God. Jesus was showing that God’s message hadn’t changed, and that God still commanded His followers to love God and love their neighbors.

Everyday Application

1) What does it mean in everyday life to love God with all your heart, soul and mind? (verse 37)
I love those adorable home movies of kids performing in a school concert. All the kids are cute, but the camera always zooms in on that one little ham who is belting out the song at max volume and dancing like she’s on Broadway. She is giving it her all, and it’s a picture of what the Lord requires of us when He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) We can love God with all of our heart when we love Him first and best. This means we put Him first above loved ones, above hobbies and pursuits, and above dreams and goals. When we do this, we actually end up loving those around us with the love of God, which is better by far than human love! The way we spend our time and what we concentrate on most proves what is first in our hearts. This is a sobering thought if we allow ourselves to contemplate it! We can love Him with all our minds by dwelling on His Word and praying the Scriptures. We love God first when we don’t indulge ungodly thoughts or dwell on unrighteousness (Romans 8:5), or give in to the temptation to sin. When we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and let Him renew our minds (Romans 12:2), we love Him with all our mind. To love God with all our soul, according to author Jason DeRouchie, is to “love Him with how we talk, and what we do with our hands, and how we utilize our talents, and how we react to challenges.”

2) Why is it equally important to love your neighbor as it is to love God? (verse 39)
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is a difficult verse to comprehend, let alone obey. God wants me to love my neighbor, and not just a little bit, and not just the one living across the street. He wants me to love her the way I love myself. This means preferential treatment. This means caring about her needs and seeking out the best possible outcomes for her. And it is just as important to love my neighbor as it is to love God! The Lord says the way we love our neighbor is the way we show love to Him. He tells us in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-40) that whatever we do for the people we see as the least valuable, that is what we do for Him. When we love our neighbor, we are showing them God’s love.  God loves our neighbor through our hands and our actions. If we say we love God, but are cruel to our neighbor, our neighbor gets the message that God is cruel. Author David Guzik asserts, “If the life of God is real in our life, it will show by the presence of this love for God and others.”  A life brimming over with love for God will spill onto the people around you. Empowered by God’s love, you will look for ways to love your neighbor the way you love yourself.  You will seek their happiness and their well-being. You will share the blessings God has bestowed on you with them.  You won’t turn a blind eye and think, “not my problem.”  You will roll up your sleeves and jump in to help when problems arise. You will share the love of God which He has given you.

3) What does it mean for all the law and prophets to depend on these two commands? (verse 40)
I have two children looking at colleges for next year, so I have seen multiple university mission statements. Whether in a glossy brochure or flashy website, they all seek to boil down the essence of their universities in a few sentences. It strikes me that Matthew 22:37-39 could be the mission statement on God’s glossy brochure for His Word. In those verses God tells us His two greatest commands are to love Him and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Everything hangs on these! If we are showing God love and loving our neighbors, we will keep every other command of God. Author John Piper asserts, “when you see people love like that (fulfill the Golden Rule), what you are seeing is the visible expression of the Law and the Prophets. This behavior among people manifests openly and publicly and practically what the Old Testament is about.” Paul teaches the same thing in Romans 13:8-10 when he says, “Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law . . .   Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.” It is encouraging to think I could keep all the commandments of God by loving Him and those He put me in community with. On my own, I might have a hard time, but God promises to help us love through His gift of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5) I’m asking God to help me love like He does, and I invite you to do the same!

What do YOU think?! Share Here!
Missing the connection to our other Journey Study today?
Catch up with The Call To Family!

Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

Digging Deeper Community

Share What You’ve Learned!
Pray Together!
Join us in the GT Facebook Community!

Our Current Study Theme!

This is Fervent Week Three!
Don’t miss out on the discussion!
Sign up
to receive every GT Journey Study!

Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

Memorize It!

Download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Tap and hold on your mobile device to save.