Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lesson 6: The greatest commandment is Jesus’ law of love.

Here is lesson six I wrote for the kids  at my church.

Lesson 6: The greatest commandment is Jesus’ law of love.

References: Matthew 22:37-39, Deuteronomy 6:5, Luke 10:25-37

We know that God wants us to love Him.  We saw that in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 6:5 God says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are to love God, but He says the next greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus says: And 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 great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

So what does this love look like? Jesus also tells a story to them about a Samaritan man. The Samaritans were people that most people did not like.  If Jews saw them coming down the road, they would walk on the other side. They were not treated well at all. So that is what makes this story about love even better. In Luke 10:25-37, we see what Jesus tells the people about love. And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

This story can have many different meanings, but one thing we can learn from it is what loving our neighbor looks like. God used the Samaritan to help this man who was hurt. He bandaged his wounds, put him on his animal, gave him a place to stay, and took care of all the bills. This was something that took a lot of time and money. The Samaritan gave sacrificially to help this man. That means that he gave all he had and then some to help him. He was not thinking of himself, but about the hurt man.

We are called to love people this way too. There are lots of things that we can do to love our neighbors. Not all of us will see someone that has been beaten up and help them. There will be other needs that people have for us to help meet. Loving your neighbor is about helping meet their needs, giving them your time, money… anything they may need and to do it in love. We should show love to others with a generous heart, not just because it is something we are supposed to do, but with a heart of compassion. God calls us to love even our enemies; they could be seen as our neighbors too.  Loving our neighbor could even be helping those who may not like you. The Samaritan helped the man who had been beaten up, even though that man may not have ever helped the Samaritan. It is about loving others with the kind of love that God shows us. A love that looks past all the good and bad others do and still loving them, wanting what is best for them. God wants us to show other people who He is through our love for them, so that they may one day come to know Him. This is not an easy love, but it is what God has commanded us to do.


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