"The great commandment"

In answer to the lawyer who asked him which was "the great commandment in the law," Jesus replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Inasmuch as the answer was given by one so preeminently spiritual and practical as was Jesus, it is only reasonable to assume that he did not place before the lawyer an ideal wholly beyond the latter's grasp. It is probable, rather, that Jesus answered him as man to man, displaying as he ever did that wisdom, tact, and foresight which attracted the multitudes and silenced his accusers. His answer to the lawyer was straight and to the point, and it should immediately have made the lawyer question his own concept of God. What was the God whom he was to love with all his heart?

Had he wished, the lawyer could have obtained the answer to that question by observing the life of Jesus, his works of healing, and his method of teaching. Whether he did this or not we are not told, but it does not alter the force of Jesus' reply. To any or all who may ask themselves what is the God whom they must love with all their heart, there is still the possibility of obtaining a correct answer by a study in the Bible of the life, the works, and the teaching of Christ Jesus; hence the answer made by him to the lawyer is as imperative and as true now as it ever was. His words were never merely theoretical, but always practical, and had not this great command been true and demonstrable, it could never have lasted through the intervening centuries and retained its vitality.

Throughout his teaching Jesus implied the importance of this great commandment. It is, as it were, an extension of the first commandment given to Moses, and for all we know it was constantly used by the Master in addressing all classes and conditions of men. Christian Science reiterates this command today, and in so doing it is not placing before us an ideal wholly beyond our grasp, however much human affairs may seem to obscure this ideal. On page 9 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy asks, "Dost thou 'love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind'?" Then she says, "This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship."

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Man's Heritage of Joy
August 21, 1915

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