“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Reference: Matthew 22:35-40 )
[Beloved, what follows is actually a re-working and re-wording of what I wrote five years ago. Just as God’s love is steady and unchanging, so is my perspective of this passage. Hopefully I am expressing more clearly and maybe more elegantly than five years ago. But the message is still the same.]
Have you ever read something that was clearly stated and stated with such self-evident truth that it resonated with you down the the depths of your spirit? That is what I felt when I read what the historic Anabaptist believer said concerning this passage. The editors preface comments by saying he “ considered love to be the mark of the Kingdom of God, dwelling also in the hearts of believers.”
Schiemer wrote, in part, the following to the Church of God at Rattenburg; “Christ says: The whole law and the prophets and all the rest are summed up in these two commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind, and with all your strength, and your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-40; Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30-31). These two commandments are also written in the old law. . . . Loving God and neighbour is the true kingdom of God. John says in his epistle: “God is love, and whoever remains in love, remains in God and God in him” (1 John 4:16). This is why the Lord says: “The Kingdom of God is in you.” This is so basic, yet we make it so complicated. If love is in your heart, the Kingdom of God is there also.
There is a condition however. Schiemer does not note it, but as an impassioned historic Anabaptist he probably felt it was unnecessary to state something so obvious. I state it because our world is more complicated and more duplicitous – unfortunately. This love which is expressed to God and to the neighbor must be a pure love, as the Godself would intend it: given freely, selflessly without condition; unending; and completely affirming and uplifting. No other love will support the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God does not support any other kind of love.
But think of it that! No need to complex theology or reasoning. No need to understand any of the ‘isms’ that philosophers, theologians, scholars and other learned persons have written, expanded, and pontificated on. It is just that simple; love. No wonder a child could get it!
May you have the Kingdom of God in your heart, soul, and spirit everyday; and may the Kingdom of God come to you in great abundance. Selah!