Jesus taught the people to love each other, to be kind and helpful and forgiving. The priests and teachers said this meant Jesus did not believe the first four commandments were important.
They tried to trick Him. If they could get Him to say something against their laws, they could have Him arrested, and the people would stop listening to Him.
So one day, a man who had studied the spiritual laws asked Jesus a question.
“Teacher,” he said, “which is the great commandment in the law?”
The jealous priest listened closely. They thought Jesus might say “Honor your father and mother.” He had scolded the priests for teaching people to disobey
Maybe he would say, “You shall not kill.” He had taught that even being angry
with someone was disobeying that commandment.
If Jesus mentioned any of the last six commandments, the priests and teachers could tell the people that Jesus did not really love God.
But Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it,” He added, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
There was nothing the priests could say. Jesus had quoted Scriptures in answering their questions.
The man who asked the question was surprised. He had not expected Jesus to know the Scriptures so well. He was an honest man, and in front of all the other priests and teachers he admitted that Jesus was right.
“You have answered well, Master,” the lawyer said. “You have told the truth, for there is only one God, and to love Him with all the heart and with all the soul and with all the strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus looked tenderly upon this honest man. He knew the lawyer understood the Scriptures better than the other teachers. This lawyer understood that love is the basis of God’s law. He really wanted to find God and follow Him, but he had not known the way till now. “You are not far from the kingdom of God,” Jesus told him.
The priests and teachers, who had wanted to have Jesus arrested,
turned away. No one could argue with Him now, They were too ashamed to ask Him any more questions. And the people loved Him more than ever.
The law of God was one law, a law of love. It could not be broken down into separate rules, some important and some that did not matter.
We cannot love God without loving the people He created. We cannot love the people unless we love God, for He is the source of all love.
If we love God we will show our love by worshiping Him, by putting Him first in our lives. We will show reverence for His name and act in a way that will honor Him.
When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will be honest and kind; we will not want what belongs to others; we will do nothing to hurt others or make them sad. We will give special honor to our parents, we will always obey them and try to please them and give them respect.
Once a man asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus taught that everyone is our neighbor. All people — no matter where they live or what they look like or talk like, how rich or poor they are, how much education they have, how much they may be like us or different from us — are our neighbors.
If we love God, we will love our neighbors as He loves them, as he loves us, for we are all His creation.