The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
— Matthew 22: 34-46

The Pharisees prided themselves in knowing the Bible and their observance of the Law.  They not only knew the Ten Commandments, but they paid rigorous attention to all the laws of Moses.  However, the Pharisees had lost sight of the very heart of the matter which was to love God first.  This verse means that without loving God first, the outer observance of the laws means nothing to God.

In another place Jesus specifically warned of the danger: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25-26 NIV).

Loving God means receiving cleansing from inside first.  This is the only way our obedience becomes authentic.  Otherwise, our obedience may appear as of those Pharisees who may appear as righteous from the inside, but their hearts are corrupted. 

Today we are reminded to examine our hearts before God.  When we love God first as the scripture says with all our hearts, soul and mind it empowers us to love others as ourselves.

With hope and joy in Christ,