Friday, April 10

The third greatest commandment

Ever wonder what Jesus would have considered the third greatest commandment? Every one knows the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God, and the second to love our neighbor, but what follows in importance? Alan Knox shares his thoughts on what might be Jesus' third greatest commandment...

So, a lawyer asks Jesus which is the "great commandment". Jesus replied with two: 1) Love God and 2) Love your neighbor. But, Jesus said that the second was like the first. Also, Jesus said that "all the Law and the Prophets" depend on "these two commandments", not on one or the other, but on both.

As I was thinking about this recently, I wondered why Jesus gave the man two commandments. I mean, the man only asked for one, but Jesus gave him two. Why didn't Jesus just give him one? Or, why didn't Jesus give him three? What would have been the "third greatest commandment" according to Jesus?

When I read what people are saying about Jesus or about Christianity, it often seems that they think "the third greatest commandment" is more important than the first two that Jesus mentioned. What do I mean? Well, in books and teachings and blog posts and other means, people are often telling Christians what they must do to follow Jesus' teachings. And, love is very rarely at the top of the list. Instead, it seems people like to focus on what they must consider to be Jesus' "third greatest commandment". You know, things like:

Have faith!
Study the Bible!
Join the church!
Give your money!
Homeschool your children!
Be baptized!
Sign this covenant/confession!
Make disciples!
Speak in tongues!
Pray!
Sing worship songs!
Be involved in the programs of the church!
Read the right books!

Of course, there are others who prefer to focus on Jesus' "third greatest commandment" as a prohibition or negative command:

Do not drink!
Do not curse!
Do not join THAT church!
Do not send your kids to public schools!
Do not speak in tongues!
Do not hang out with THOSE people!
Do not read THOSE books!

I guess I could go on and on. Now, some of these are very good things. But, Jesus didn't list these among his great commandment list. Instead, Jesus stopped at two: 1) Love God and 2) Love your neighbor.

Why would Jesus stop with these two? Why did he not include other commands in his list? Are we wrong if we place alot of emphasis on love? Are we wrong if we don't place alot emphasis on love?
So, what "third commandment" do you hear that takes the place of #1 and #2?

3 comments:

El Perro said...

Guy:
Es cierto, no hay tal cosa como un "mandamiento más grande"; el Amor es el cumplimiento de la ley.
Amar a Dios con todo el corazón, con toda la mente y todas las fuerzas.
Amar a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos...
Jesús agregó mas adelante un "mandamiento nuevo": "Ámense unos a otros. Ustedes deben amarse de la misma manera que yo los amo".
Juan 13:34

Nunca enseñaremos suficiente del amor.
Que el Señor nos capacite día a día para vivirlo.
Un abrazo!

GuyMuse said...

Hno. Perro,

Este artículo de Alan me impacto precisamente porque nuestra tendencia es dejar que otras cosas intervengan encima del amor por Dios y el prójimo. Es una constante lucha y expresarlo de esta manera nos ayuda a mantenernos enfocados a los primeros dos mandamientos.

mic said...

Tiene razon Guy ... Nos gusta que sustituir otras cosas por amor a Dios y nuestros prójimos.

Gracias por publicar.