Friday, April 16, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday April 18, 2010

(Learn how to love GOD so you know how to love others)
(Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34)

In Matthew chapter 22, verses 34-40, and Mark chapter 12, verses 28-34, one of the teachers of religious law, probably a Pharisee, was standing close by, listening to JESUS’ answer to the Sadducees, regarding the resurrection. The Sadducees were a group of wealthy Jewish men who prided themselves as being experts in the knowledge of religious law. They also did not believe there would be a resurrection of life after death.
After seeing JESUS handily defend the word of GOD against these misguided scholars, this particular teacher, who apparently had more insight than the others, poses this question of his own to JESUS, when he asks, “Which is the first commandment of all? Here, the Greek word translated “which”, is “poios”, and it means “what kind of”. The Greek word translated “first”, “protos”, means “most important”. And so, here, JESUS is being asked, in effect, “Which is the most important commandment?”
JESUS begins by reciting the opening line, of the first part of the three-part “Shema”, which was recited by devout Jews twice daily. It stresses the unity of GOD, and, the importance of loving HIM and HIS Laws, and it goes like this; “Hear old Israel; the LORD our GOD is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
To love the LORD THY GOD with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength calls for a thorough commitment to GOD that is both personal, and whole of heart. It speaks to the whole of humanity, personally; “the heart”, which is the center of human life, “the soul”, which is the “self-conscience” life of all men, “the mind”, which is the entire thought process of man, and, of course, “the strength”, or, entire physical power of man. In other words, we should love GOD with every fiber of our being. This is what is covered in the first four commandments (see Exodus 20:3-11), where GOD tells us, in effect, that our love for HIM must be;
• totally loyal (verse 3),
• totally faithful (verse 6),
• totally trusting (verse 7),
• and, must show total reverence at all times (verse 8).
Next, JESUS states that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is the concept of the remaining six commandments (Exodus 20:12-17);
• If we love each other, we can certainly begin with honoring our own parents.
• If we love each other, we are not likely to intentionally, or maliciously take another’s life, which by the way, is made in the image of GOD.
• If we love each other, we will not commit adultery against our spouse with another person.
• If we love each other, we won’t steal from each other.
• If we love each other, we won’t lie on each other, or falsely accuse each other.
• And finally, if we love each other, we won’t jealously desire anything that belongs to someone else.
And so I guess, in summation, JESUS is saying that, everything, that GOD commands us to do, is of the utmost importance to HIM. And that the Ten Commandments can really be viewed as being only two. And both of them, or all ten of them, are of equal importance to GOD. When we come to love GOD, we then understand more clearly how we can love one another, who are, after all, made in the image of GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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