Love your neighbors

What does it mean to abolish obstacles? As we read in Matthew 19:16-22, we are confronted by our Lord who tells us that sometimes stuff can get in our way. It is at this time a rich young man comes to Jesus and asks what good deeds he must do to have eternal life. We’ve all wondered if we were doing enough, right? This young man calls Christ Jesus teacher, thinking Jesus is just a good human teacher. He is asking how he can become good enough to earn salvation. Jesus replies there is only One who is good Matthew 19:17b~And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? (ESV) This may have been Jesus’ way of making the rich young man verbalize who he thinks Jesus is. Does he recognize the source of salvation? Christ Jesus is not denying His own deity, but because this man views Jesus as just a good teacher. He explains no mere human is good. Psalm 14:3~All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) 

You are not good, and neither am I. Matthew 19:17~And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (ESV) The Pharisees had added much more than God intended to Ole Mo’s commands, making them too cumbersome. Therefore, the man asks in  Matthew 19:18-19a~He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother…(ESV) To sum it up, Jesus adds from Leviticus 19:18~Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV) What does it mean for us to love our neighbor as yourself?

Loving our neighbor as ourselves is found eight times in scripture. Not just once or even twice, but eight times. Guess God wanted to make it a point in our living. Loving your neighbor as yourself is so important to God that He makes it a command. Jesus coupled the command to love your neighbor as yourself with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. James calls it the royal law. (James 2:8) It sounds beautiful, and it is when we obey it. But loving your neighbor as yourself is not always easy. That’s why God made it a command. He knew that we would struggle with it. Thus, making it a command is actually to our benefit. 

You are probably asking right now, Pastor how can that be? Making us love our neighbors as a command means that we have to do it on purpose, thereby being intentional about how we love and care for others. Sometimes we even do it out of our own need. Who in your life is a neighbor in need of love today? Why not take the time to let them know that they are not alone by helping them. And also be certain to pray with them, which will be another great way fo showing the love of Jesus.


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