April 12, 2021


The Greatest Commandment


One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”


Jesus answered, “The foremost is, Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”


The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love ones neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”


When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”


Mark 12:28-34


“You shall love your neighbour as yourself”

Jesus said

not only your family or friend or congregant

but your neighbour, your actual neighbour

even if hes your enemy

even if he barricades your doors

or steals your Amazon packages

or says bad things about you


thats what Jesus said


you shall care for your neighbour

whether he is good or evil

you shall do for him the very good

you would do for yourself

you shall look out for his interests

as though you were yourself bound up in them


thats how Jesus lived


its heartbreakingly sad that so many of us

we, who have the very best reason to love

find it so easy to despise our neighbour

see reason to belittle our neighbour

have no fear to curse our neighbour

or carelessly ignore our neighbour

because they have done or do us harm


ignoring words that Jesus also said

“Father, forgive them”

as they were putting Him to death


do we care so little for our neighbour

we allow selfishness obscure the Saviour

do we care so little we hide the salvation

God offers free to all who would believe

yet who cannot hear for all our noise

the only witness they may ever have


how will our neighbour see His love

through the blurred image of our lives

how will our neighbour walk with God

if our feet so often walk in protest

how will our neighbour hold Gods hand

if our hands so often close in fists

how will our neighbour sing His praise

if our voices so often rise in anger

how will we reveal His love for them

if our love for Him so tarnished shines

how will we make disciples of all nations

if we keep His salvation to ourselves


and unlike Jesus, so much unlike Jesus

we have no concern for those around us

do not weep their desperate condition

how will they know they can be saved

or even brought to care theyre dead

if we live lives that will not tell them


if we will not love our neighbour

as God would have us love them

is there still reason for God to love us


The Greatest Commandment
A poem by Peter Rhebergen

Copyright 2021

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