One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, “You aren’t far from God’s kingdom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Santa: That’s another thing . . . Buddy you should know that your father
. . . he’s on the naughty list.
This piece of scripture and movie quote revolve around one simple question: what’s the most important thing? In Buddy’s life, everything revolves around The List, Santa’s dividing the people up between good or naughty, presents or coal.
The people Jesus is speaking with have a similar focus. To them, it’s all about The Law. Following the law means you are right with God, and these people meticulously track whether others are “good” or “naughty” based on how they follow those laws. Recognizing Jesus’ expertise, they ask him what the “most important thing” is. Jesus’ answer is clear, concise, and turns their worldview upside down. Love God with all your being, he says, and love others as you love yourself. This committed, powerful love is what is important, not your adherence to a list of requirements. That, he says, is the most important thing.
your command is simple.
With all my heart, my mind, and my strength,
I love you now and forever.
Help me to care for others as you care for me,
let their pain be my pain,
and their joy be my joy,
and let us all find joy in your loving embrace.