Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Commandment of Love

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21)
You cannot love God and hate your brother. It’s impossible.Once, a man who was skilled in the Law of Moses came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 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: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Notice that Jesus said, “The second is like it.” The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is not given in addition to the first commandment, it is inherent in it. The second is just like the first. They are twins joined together. Break the one and you have broken the other.

If someone does not love his brother, or his neighbor, whom he has seen, then how can he say he loves God, whom he has not seen? The author of Hebrews tells us that “the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). If we do not love our brother, who was created by the God who is invisible, then we do not love the God who created him.

It’s time to get serious about love. On the night He was betrayed, He spoke to the intimate gathering of His disciples and said, “These things I command you, that you love one another.” The day before Good Friday is known as Maundy Thursday in commemoration of this. Maundy means “commandment” or “mandate.”

On the next day, Good Friday, Jesus powerfully demonstrated His love for God and man through His obedience and sacrifice.

Love God and one another.