Living and Loving on the Right Side of the Cross – Part One

Matthew 22: 36 – 40

A group of religious critics asked Jesus a question intended to impel Him on the horns of a dilemma. You know, you have been asked those questions by people not really wanting an answer.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”


They had 631 commandments, 248 positive and 365 negative.

Schools of thought developed around most of the major ones and groups advocating their favorite as the greatest. It appeared that if Christ said of any one of the laws it was the greatest advocates of all others would turn on Him saying He was wrong. It was a question not intended to get an answer but to cause confusion.

Jesus reached back into the Scripture and quoted: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”. (Deuteronomy 6:5). That doesn’t leave out anything. There is no reserve in the love to be given the Lord.

Jesus knew this commandment was worthy to – – –



All who heard Him identify what He declared to be the most important commandment were very familiar with it. It is a part of the Jewish creed known as the “Shema.” The word Shema means “to hear.” It was the first Old Testament Scripture to be learned by a child.

On the other side of the resurrection His followers had an understanding of what it meant to love like that. We are now on the other side of the cross.

They had been part of the body of betrayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. They had seen Him brutalized and not defend Himself. They heard Him pray on the cross: “Father forgive them….”

Now, they who were clueless until the resurrection were to let it have the same impact on them.

We, like them, in light of the resurrection should love the Lord our God with all of our personal resources.

An electrician was called upon to make minor repairs in wiring that required him to go into the church attic over the pulpit. His wife accompanied him and decided to sit in the auditorium and wait for him. A group of visitors quietly entered the place of worship and seeing the lady sitting alone assumed she was having a time of private worship.

Her husband had been unduly long in the attic. The silent visitors were shocked when she turned her eyes heavenward and called out, “Sam, are you up there?” After a moment’s pause she continued, “Did you make it alright?”

After the resurrection the disciples knew Jesus was “Up there”. He had “made it alright.” As a result things are not all right down here, but we are alright living on this side of the cross. Look up and live and love.