Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 19th August 2022: The two great commandments

Commandments Love one another Neighbour Matthew 22 God Jesus

Reading : Verses from Matthew, Chapter 22

Jesus and the Pharisees in the Temple

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The number 10 in the Old Testament has often caused me grief! One memory is of a lovely lady, in a parish below the Malvern hills who was insistent in an all-age service where we played a game that involved a quiz on the Bible, that one of the ten plagues suffered by the Israelites in Egypt concerned ants! Groups in the church were competing against one another, so I understood her robust defence of her point of view, but it took her whole team to read the ten plagues to satisfy herself that she was wrong.

Then there was the time when I came out of church to be vehemently criticised by a member of the congregation for the "rubbish" that I had talked in the sermon! "There are only ten commandments", she shouted, "so how could I talk about two more?" As you can guess I was preaching on Matthew's reading in Chapter 22, where Jesus distills the commandments down to two only. I wasn't sure if I was more cross at her thinking I had lost 8 other commandments, or invented two more!

Jesus distills the commandments into two - to love God and to love others as we do ourselves. We need no more! After our primary love of God, we should be able to measure everything against the second command. We shall not hurt another person, steal from them, desire what they possess, lie to them, or kill them, for none of things would we wish done to us! Try measuring all your thoughts and actions in this way during the week!


Lord Jesus,
You know how frail is our conscience;
how we can convince ourselves
that wrong actions are really right ones;
and that we truly do put You first.
Help us to see ourselves more clearly,
as others see us,
and as You see us.
Then help us to change
to become more loving to You
and to others.

Follow Up Thoughts

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