Community, it’s a big deal!
How big—well, I would say that it’s one of the greatest commandments in all of Torah. Let’s take a look at Matthew 22:36-40. Take note that Yeshua is speaking to the religious leaders (they were “experts” of the law).
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
So, as we read, Yeshua answers the religious leaders by stating that loving God with your everything is the first and the greatest command. However, there is something very important we so often neglect: the phrase, “and the second is like it.” Why is this so important? Well, this little phrase alone is stating that to love your neighbor is just like loving God. How crazy!! I’m telling you that the text is telling us that to love your neighbor is in fact very similar (not the same) as loving God. Loving your neighbor is a direct outward display of obedience to God. Now we must note that we are made in God’s image (in his likeness), so there no coincidence that this command is right next to loving God. By loving your neighbor you are loving God, and showing true care for his creation. Lastly, as with all commands, there must flow action. The action that the text is stating is very simple and easy. LOVE EVERYONE AS YOU WANT TO BE LOVED…. EVEN IF THEY DON’T DESERVE IT! We look at Yeshua and realize that during his ministry he was hated by his very own people, yet his love for them did not waver. Let us be a mirror of our Lord Yeshua.