Study text: Matthew 22; Building Community
MV: Love your neighbor as yourself. MATTHEW 22:39
Building the Community: Foster parents open their homes and lives to children whose lives have been disrupted by personal tragedy, and often this opportunity arrives suddenly.
My husband Michael and I were fortunate to foster and later adopt two brothers, Jaclyn and John, and both are now adults. One thing we will always recall from the first days of foster parenting is how our church family came to help with the much-needed resources and guidance.
In Matthew 22, Jesus is approached by the Sadducees, religious teachers, who wanted to test, insult, and deflate Jesus’ influence. They approached Him with what they considered to be a series of difficult questions, hoping to reveal Him as a false teacher. First, they attempted to trap Him with a question about taxes (vv. 15–22).
Second, they asked about marriage in the afterlife (vv. 23–33). But their final question is the focus of our reading today. One in the group, “an expert in the law” (v. 34), asked: 4“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (v. 36).
Although their intent was to dissuade the community of believers by trying to reveal Jesus as not knowing the details of the Law, Jesus’ response would challenge their thinking. They were first to “Love the Lord your God” (v. 37) and second, to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 39). Jesus goes further to say that all other teachings “hang” on these two commands (v. 40).
If we follow Jesus’ commands, we will not only love Him but also love others. Love becomes the foundation for the church’s work in the local community and beyond. In response to the question, Which is the greatest commandment? Jesus focused on love.
Imagine a young couple who become instant foster parents and no one is there to help. Many people face unexpected situations without a supportive and loving community. How can you demonstrate Christ’s love to someone in need today?
PRAY WITH US
Again, God’s love is the focus of our study today. Our prayer is that we’ll keep the two greatest commandments in the forefront of our words and actions.