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September 12

Matthew 22, 39-40

Something to read

‘And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
New Revised Standard Version 

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

Jesus is asked which is ‘the’ greatest commandment in the Law and he replies with two. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ answers are unexpected.

He is never ‘boxed in’ by his questioner but neither is he elusive like a politician – trying to wriggle out of difficult questions without truly offering an answer. Jesus is bold, incisive, and full of a Godly wisdom that enables him to answer people’s questions with perception and authority.

In this instance one commandment is not enough. Quoting from Leviticus 19 v18, and answering a second question that has not been asked, Jesus cites the need to love one’s neighbour as oneself as the second great commandment.

It is in both these commandments, in combination, with their common, core theme of love that all the Law is fulfilled. The one who loves in this way fulfils the whole Torah. In the ‘law of love’, it is not possible to love the Lord God with our entire being if we fail to love our neighbour.

Something to do

Find one specific way to love a neighbour today – something that demands extra of yourself and maybe takes you out of your comfort zone. Do this as an act of love to your neighbour and to God.

Something to pray

Set our hearts on fire with love to you,
O Christ our God,
that in its flame we may love you
with all our heart,
with all our mind,
with all our soul,
and with all our strength,
and our neighbours as ourselves,
so that, keeping your commandments,
we may glorify you,
the giver of all good gifts.
Eastern Orthodox Church

Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.


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