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On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 22:40

greatest-commandmentJesus not only fulfilled the law and prophets, but He also tells us specifically what they all mean. Even if we get lost in trying to figure out the application and interpretation of prophesy we can be sure of this one thing, everything that has been given to us in the law and prophets hangs on the two greatest commandments. This is the plumb line that we can use for determining what a prophesy or passage means as it is recorded in the pages of Scripture. What are these two greatest commandments?

When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘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.”

All of the law, all of the prophets hang on these two things. All of the Old Testament can be placed in one of these two categories. Simply put, here is what the Bible teaches us – to love God with all we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We see this even from the Ten Commandments. The first four tell us how we are to love God. The second six tell us how we are to love our fellow man. All of the Word of God hangs then on this principle of love – absolute, unconditional, unfeigned love for God and others.

Sadly, many use the law and prophets to preach a word of death and destruction and hate. How many “hate groups” use Scripture to try and defend their positions? But they cannot. Ultimately, Jesus by His own authority and in His own Words tells us that all the law and all the prophets depend upon and point to these two great truths about God and others – we are to love.

At times this may seem overly simplistic, but then the Word of God and the gospel is simple. Not cheap. Not easy. But simple. And if anyone ever tells you that it is easy they do not know what they are talking about. Following Christ is not easy. Loving God is not easy. Loving others is not easy. It is not natural for us as sinners to love anyone other than ourselves. Thankfully we are not “natural” men and women if we have been redeemed, regenerated by the power of the Spirit, and enabled to love because God is love.

So as Jesus related to the ministry and faith of the prophets, it was to use them to point to Himself, so that we might love Him and love each other without fail. If we can read the prophets and not grow in our love for Christ then we may be seeing the words on the page but we are failing to hear what they are saying. Look for Jesus on every page – as the Bible was given to us to reveal Him in all of His glory.

(tomorrow: Captives of Faith)

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