What makes a church truly alive – sound doctrine? Musical programs? Other exciting programs? Meaningful worship services? A faithful pastor and capable lay leaders? When questioned by the Pharisees shortly before His passion, Jesus responds from the Old Testament that the real issue is love.
For the Pharisees the main issue was law. They prided themselves on knowing the rabbinic law. They considered themselves experts on legal exceptions. They fastidiously kept the rules. They tithed, observed Sabbath regulations, and performed ritual washings. But how far they were from God!
When asked which the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies, “Love the Lord your God. …Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). For Jesus the real issue is love. Love God totally. We are to love God, His name, His worship. With love flowing out of love for God, love your neigbour. The Law is kept only when love prevails.
We stand exposed. We don’t always love God or what pertains to His worship and His house. Often we rebel or only comply dutifully. We fail to love our neigbours at home, in church, and elsewhere. We confess our lovelessness.
Jesus not only talked about love but lived love. He kept the law perfectly toward His Father and His neigbour. He demonstrated His love by dying on the cross for us. The real issue: His love for us, which frees us from the curse of the Law. He fills us with His love and forgiveness so we can live for Him and others. Then they will know we are Christians by our Love – His love.
Reference: Matthew 23:34-40
Written by: Pius Kedem Sedofia