by TYLER GRIGG
I share a sin with the lawyer Christ speaks with: the desire to justify myself. If I can study enough scripture, go to enough bible studies, and serve others well enough, then God will love me and I can love myself. But I always fail, and in the end I am disgusted by my shortcomings. It is here where the Spirit tenderly reminds me: I am already justified, already loved, through Christ who gave himself for me. The great distillation of scripture in verse 27 teaches us how to live well as Christ carries us into life eternal.
Beginning with the first command: here Christ asks for total devotion to Him. As an engineer, I often get stuck loving God with my mind, to the neglect of the other elements of my whole person. I struggle when God doesn’t make sense or does things that seem impossible. But God wants more than our understanding; he wants our desires, our motions, our will, our belief, our weakness; he wants all of us. The command to love God wholly comes first because all else flows from this.
The second teaching is deceptively simple: love your neighbor as yourself. But it is viciously hard to live out everyday. Our neighbors can be strange, uncomfortable, wicked. In a word: deplorable. Beware your disdain for what God so fervently desires for Himself! Love others earnestly with the love Christ gives you as you abide in Him.
God sent out the seventy “ahead of Him to every city and place where He himself was going to come”. We are sent into our city because Christ is going there Himself. Do your small, imperfect work of love knowing that Christ is coming quickly. Come, Lord Jesus.