One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Food For Thought:
The line that stands out to me is near the end of this passage when Jesus tells the man that he isn’t far from the “kingdom of God.” What do you think that the kingdom of God looks like? This past summer, I got a chance to teach the children about parables. The parables are some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture meant to teach us about the kingdom of God and what that looks like. Take a piece of paper and write Kingdom of God at the top. Write things that you think would be a part of God’s kingdom, like peace, patience, forgiveness, grace, love, etc. Think about ways that you can usher in God’s kingdom here on earth.
Bless us with your healing presence;
make us hungry for justice;
strengthen our faith;
and increase our love for others,
especially those we find it most difficult to love. Amen.
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