The Greatest Commandment Isn’t Good News

When Jesus was asked what the foremost commandment is, He replied, …

The foremost is, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-30).

This isn’t good news, because, the great reality of our lives is that none of us love God with the passion and fervor that He requires of us. None of us are even close to loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The same is true of the second. We are all too self-centered to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It only gets worse when you realize that the greatest sin is to break the greatest commandment.

The greatest commandment may not be good news, but it will lead us to the good news. We are all great sinners, in need of a Savior. The good news is that Jesus Christ is our Savior (Titus 3:4-7). We simply need to believe on Him.


Beware of Thyself

In Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick, captain Ahab is a crazed ship captain, obsessed with one thing: to kill Moby Dick (the white whale), in order to avenge the loss of his leg. At one point in the story, Ahab is exerting his power irrationally, which caused his closest companion to warn him, “Let Ahab beware of Ahab; beware of thyself, old man” (chapter 109).

Such is the temptation of all in leadership: exerting their power irrationally. To the elders of Ephesus, Paul warned them, “Be on guard for yourselves” (Acts 20:28). To Timothy the same advice was given, “Pay close attention to yourself” (1 Timothy 4:16). It’s no wonder that a spiritual leader in the church must not be self-willed (Titus 1:7).