Trinity and Love for God (Mt. 22:34-38)
In the temple’s courtyards, the religious leaders confronted Jesus. The leaders had been upset by the crowds cheering Jesus’ arrival for the Passover and by his clearing of profiteers from the temple courts. They challenged Jesus in Matthew 21:23. Jesus quickly took control of the verbal joust. The leaders questioned him, yet Jesus avoided their traps. Finally, when asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus echoed Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 6, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
For centuries, the consistent message to Israel was to love God first and foremost. Israel tried many substitutes, many of them similar to the ones Christians try today. Many have placed their trust in sets of rules or good deeds. For others, selfish ambition, materialism, and striving for power became their goals. Watered-down versions of loving God only in certain places, times, or ways have persisted throughout Israel’s history and into today’s churches. People run from one concept to another, hoping to find their own safe haven in life.
But God still calls for us to love him with everything we are, with everything we have, and with everything we do. We are called to love the Triune God that spoke to Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament, who died on a cross to pay the price for humanity’s sin, and who works within the hearts of those who believe. This love for God is to be the center of everything in the life of a Christ-follower.
Israel’s leaders who stood against Jesus that day fell short of God’s desire. They refused to believe who Jesus truly was. Disdain against God’s messenger filled their hearts. In days, they would ensure his death.
Today, we still fall short of God’s desire for us to love Him completely. God’s grace abounds to those who seek Him, capable of covering all our shortcomings. God, the source of overwhelming love, freely loves us and grants us the ability to love him more. Yet we must heed our calling and set our affections upon the Lord.
Love from God, and for God, is the only foundation for the authentic life humanity was made to live.