The Greatest Commandment

Read Mark 12:28-33  

The teacher who approached Jesus recognized Jesus’ knowledge and needed a simple answer. He knew the law, but trusted that Jesus could help him truly understand it. As a man, he knew the heart of man and needed to know how to follow God. 

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, there was no hesitation.  

The first thing He shared was to love God, the one and only true God, with all our hearts and minds and souls and strengths. Jesus gave us a priority – that before we worry about anything else, we need to acknowledge God.  

Once we accept  this and direct our lives to the presence of God, the second commandment is a no-brainer. In order to truly love God, we have to see each other as equal children under one God, and love each other as brothers and sisters. 

Jesus knew that only by speaking to us simply, like children, would we be able to see the greatness of God. Jesus knew that when we are making choices in our lives, we would often choose wrong or unwisely. Jesus knew some people would justify cruelty or bias or selfishness by interpreting or confusing the individual commandments.

There have never been so many “except for’s” added to a list than by someone explaining the ten commandments. Parents like number 5. Rich people are fond of 8. We all have our personal favorite, and we all have ones we tend to hedge on. The person having an affair finds a loophole in number 7 and the person who needs to succeed may put an addendum on number 9.

Jesus knew the commandments said simply “God is Lord. And to fully serve and honor Him, love each other as God loves us.” 

Especially in today’s disarray and confusion, we are crying out for answers or instructions. Well it is easy: the instructions have remained the same from the dawn of time. The answer is Jesus. And He told us what to do. 

Just remember: Everything changes except God. But the one thing we can do is change back, for the better. 


  • What does it look like for you today to love God fully? To love your neighbor? To love yourself? 

by Margaret Duchrow