WHEN A LAWYER ASKED JESUS about the big picture, or how to have "eternal life," Jesus referred him to "the law," or the two great commandments that all good Jews had known for probably 1,500 years (see Luke 10:25–37).

A lawyer, or scribe, was a Jewish scholar who was expected to know the ancient scriptures, or law, quite well. So it was appropriate for this lawyer to refer to the two great commandments right from those Hebrew texts. The first one, about loving God supremely, comes from Deuteronomy 6:5. The second one, which is about loving our neighbor as ourselves, is from Leviticus 19:18. Eternal life, based on loving God and loving our neighbor, implies that this perfect, eternal life is here, now. But we need a more proactive love in order to awaken to it.

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