31B18. Deuteronomy 6:2-6. Moses gives the Hebrew Law or Torah to the Hebrews with its hundreds of commands and prohibitions. From my personal point of view this regime of training and discipline is like what a loving parent gives to their little children. In the New Testament this same loving God expects that his sons and daughters will have developed to point where He then only has to give only far fewer commands that are far broader in the scope in what they demand of us. The best example of this is Matthew 5:48 where Jesus simply says: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In the Old Testament Law, God promises that observance will lead to a long life and to “a land flowing with milk and honey” as a reward. I believe that observance of the Law in the proper spirit was given to the Hebrew people as the sure way to help them to grow in that all-consuming love of the Lord that is demanded by the first of the two great commandments.
Mark 12:28b-34. We always hear and read the command: “You shall love the Lord our God.” Unfortunately it can easily give the impression that love begins with us. 1 John 4:19 clearly states: “We love because he first loved us.” We go next to 1 John 4:9-10 which says, “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not we have loved God, but that he has loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” As we daily grow in the love that God has for us, we become more capable in turn, of loving God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength. We cannot give what we do not have. The only way to have a genuine life of love is to get it as a gift from God himself. God is the ultimate source or root of all goodness. Jesus says in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
Secondly, we cannot love what we do not properly respect. To respect God means to hold God in our hearts and minds for the person God truly is: all-knowing; all-powerful; all present; all-loving. However, we cannot truly and fully grasp who God is because he is infinite and we are finite. Because he is “the Lord our God” and we are not God, we must live in total submission to his Will. God is love; his Will is love. To live in anything else but a total submission to the Will of God is not to live in his love. In John 14:21 Jesus says: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” In John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” If God does not give us the love with which to love we can have no true love for God. To truly love God or neighbor means that God himself must live within us as the source of our life and love.
Hebrews 7:23-28. “Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” Jesus, “who has been made perfect forever,” is the perfect priest to appeal to God for us. In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus who loved us so much that he died on the cross for us is the sure way to heaven for us. He is the sure way for us to live with our becoming love as he is love.