What does Matthew 22:37 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: Jesus replied: ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
CSB: He said to him, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
NLT: Jesus replied, '‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’
KJV: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Verse Commentary:
It's common to read through these exchanges between Jesus and the religious leaders and focus on the conflict and tension. We see Jesus' brilliant answers to the difficult questions meant to trip Him up. It's helpful, though, to stop and think for a moment about what is happening on another level. They don't know it, but Israel's religious leaders are asking these hard questions of the very Son of God. They are taking some of the most troubling issues of the day and getting a response straight from their Creator. Jesus was not simply good at answering questions about the law; He was there when the law was given!

The lawyer who asked Jesus which is the primary commandment in the law may have been trying to trip Jesus up. He certainly doesn't realize he is asking the Son of God the question he might very well have chosen to ask God the Father, given the chance. It's a powerful moment, especially for these men who had made understanding and teaching the law their entire life's work.

For us, and for the exact same reason, Jesus' answer carries an enormous opportunity. This answer is not merely the wise response of a human interpreter. His is not just another opinion among the debates of religious leaders. Jesus' answer reveals the heart of God in giving the Law of Moses to His people Israel.

Jesus doesn't hesitate to answer this question, either. He doesn't respond with a counter-question or tell a parable or ask for object to use for illustration. Jesus answers directly from Deuteronomy 6:5. The great and first commandment in all of Scripture is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.

God wants His people first and above all to love Him with every part of their being. The heart and soul and mind may describe the centers of emotion, action, and thought. The point of the command is not to separate them, though, but to join them together with every aspect of a person fully committed to loving God. A pure, uninterrupted commitment to God and His will is the very basis of a proper relationship with Him.
Verse Context:
Matthew 22:34–40 describes a question to Jesus from a Pharisee described as a lawyer. In this context, this means someone well-versed in the Old Testament. He asks Jesus which is the great commandment in the Law. Jesus upholds Deuteronomy 6:5, indicating that loving God with everything about us is the great and first commandment. Christ then volunteers that the second greatest is closely related: to love your neighbor as yourself. Every command or law from God is distilled from those basic principles. Luke 10:25–28 and Mark 12:28–37 also describe this challenge.
Chapter Summary:
Continuing a dialogue with hostile religious leaders, Jesus tells a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast which ends up being attended by those not initially invited. He answers trick questions about taxes, marriage, resurrection, and the Law of Moses. These responses are the source of common English idioms such as "render to Caesar…" and "many are called but few are chosen." Finally, Jesus asks how the Messiah can be both the son of David and the Lord of David. None can answer Him, so they stop challenging Him in public.
Chapter Context:
This chapter extends an exchange between Jesus and several groups of religious leaders in the temple. The previous chapter concluded with two parables about the failures of the religious leaders. This chapter begins with a third parable, about chosen guests who refuse to attend a wedding feast. Jesus then fields questions from several religious groups, who fail in their attempts to trip Him up. His wise and profound answers silence all of them. At this point, Jesus launches into a full-throated condemnation of the Pharisees in chapter 23.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/17/2024 9:24:37 PM
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