Text: Matthew 20:37 – 40
“‘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 neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As I read these words, I cannot help being amazed at the way in which we so often make a distinction between the “first” commandment and the “second” commandment. Both these commandments were well known in Israel. The “first” commandment is taken from Deut 6:4-5. The second commandment is taken from Lev 19:18.
Jesus takes these two seemingly non-related commandments and makes them one. The second commandment is not less important than the first. The one is like the other (omoia in Greek). Similar in its essence. Equal in its importance. The one cannot function perfectly without the other.
In the life of Jesus we never find any tension between His love for His Father and His love for people. In fact, He would constantly and effortlessly demonstrate His love for the Father through His love for people.
When Jesus was confronted with the needs of his time, He reacted seemingly without thinking, by addressing the needs of the people whom He met. Whether it was someone with leprosy, a paralysed person, a blind person, a woman subject to bleeding for twelve years, another woman caught in the act of adultery – He responded immediately to the need of the person.
In this time of HIV and AIDS, we stand guilty before God if we refrain from doing what Jesus would have done if He had been confronted with someone with AIDS. We cannot confess our love for the Father while we are lacking in our love for our fellow human beings. Be it people who are HIV+; people who are figuratively being stoned because of the stigmatisation related to AIDS; people who can no longer rise from their beds because of the final stages of AIDS.
If we confess our love for the Father, then we need to reflect the love of Jesus to these people