The Greatest Commandment

Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-03-21
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 22:36-40

Pharisees: 36 Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.”[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 40 The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.

OBSERVATION: Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

APPLICATION: It seems natural for us to worry more about the most important laws, or the most critical infractions we want to avoid. Take speeding for example: In the US we know that we could get away with doing no more than 5 miles over the speed limit, so we will often break the law, but by no more than 5mph, so we don’t get a ticket. Isn’t it the same with God’s laws? It seems ok to take a few pencils or paperclips home from work, but not $100, even though both are stealing. It seems OK to tell a lie, but we wouldn’t ever consider murder, although both are sins. Notice how Jesus set an example for us in quoting Scripture when responding to questions from those trying to test us. He did it to Satan when tempted by him in the desert, and he responds similarly now to the Pharisees. Why is that? Personal opinions are dime a dozen, for everyone has at least one! However, when we quote ‘thus says the Lord’, we are allowing God’s Word to answer why we believe the way we do. I found it interesting that Jesus chose not only the two commandments that epitomize God’s love and His wish for His children, but also the two commandments that all others are based on. In other words, if we get these two right, and if we exceed expectations in response to these two, then no one should have reason to judge us of missing the mark with the other commandments. To love the Lord: With all our heart – is to devote the very core of our being (our heart) to loving our Creator and our Lord; With all our soul – is to love God from the deepest parts of our being, knowing that no one deserves our love more than He does; With all our mind – is to know that our love for God is unconditional, meaning that we will love Him no matter what is going on in life, because our mind is fixed on Him. On the second most important commandment, Jesus tells us that it is equally important as the first, for a child of God who loves His Maker, will also love all that He made. To dislike our neighbor is like saying that God messed up in creating them. Of course they will be different to us in many ways, but in loving them, we soon learn to love the variety of people and things that God created. This widens our spectrum of appreciation for our Creative God. As we love our (different) neighbor, we become better prepared to approach nonbelievers who need Jesus. Remember, God made them, so we should love them! Please note that this is not just a nice story about God getting on to the Pharisees. I believe that He is still saying the same thing to you and I today: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind – and your neighbor as you love yourself; for this is God’s greatest wish for you today!

PRAYER: Each day that I read Your Word, I am looking for what’s most important for me that day, from my gracious God. Thank You Lord, for making it plain to me today that I am to love You above everything else, and that I am to love my friends, my relatives and my neighbors as much as I love myself. Lord, please teach my readers and I to love like You love us each and every day. For others need to see Jesus – Your love, Your mercy and Your gracious concern for everyone. They need to see You, and not the wickedness of our earthly beings. May others see You and believe. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Woe To You……

Scripture: Genesis 36 – 37; Matthew 11  

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God.21 “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.23 “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today.24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”   Matt 11:20-24 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I believe that too often we tend to think about how good we are as a church, or a nation, that God would surely bless everyone in it. I also think that we tend to take it for granted that because we go to this or that church every week we will also go to heaven. Friends, there is only one way to get there, and that is to accept Jesus as Lord of you life. Just like Jesus may have done numerous miracles in our church, or in our family, so we may be tempted to think that we too are among those blessed, and will surely reap God’s blessings. These verses tell us that although Jesus performed many miracles in these towns, yet they (the people) will surely die and go to hell if they don’t make personal decisions to accept Him. We too must turn to God, and not think for a moment that we can depend on our blessed lineage to also slip into Heaven. It just doesn’t happen that way. Woe to any that believe that way. A personal decision to accept Jesus is THE only way to ever see Jesus and/or Heaven. The one good thing is that, if you are able to read this devotional today, there is still time for you to make the type decision of which I speak about here. Don’t delay your decision friend, we are not promised one moment past the present breath. Contact me if you would like a friend to talk with about this decision. Directly from God’s Word I will find the words to help you in your decision to accept Jesus. Respond to this posting today, please?

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Thank You Father for saving my soul. please help me to be sensitive to those who have yet to make this most important decision. Please direct me to someone today that I may help in their dilemma so that they may personally know that they will see You one day, regardless of what may go on around them. Thank You for making this provision for us and providing a means for forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.

Make God First in Your Life, then……

SCRIPTURE Studied: Matthew 4

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too.22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. Matt 4:18-22 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

While this seems like a miraculous thing for Jesus to call these men from what they were doing, and especially for them to leave their secular jobs and follow Him, I believe that this also occurs today. We were created by God, and while our flesh strives to live in and enjoy the pleasures of this world, I believe that our inward soul longs to be with Jesus and live a life pleasing to Him while here on this earth. Unfortunately I believe that the latter is not possible until we accept that deep longing to accept Jesus as Lord of our life. We can always stop and think of what life could be like if we weren’t so stuck on pleasing others. It is so unfortunate that we try so hard to please our peers, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our boss, our pastor and then with whatever is left in us we try to please God. Friend why not try and do this in reverse order – surrender your heart to God, give Him 100% of your effort to please Him and follow His commands, then watch how easy it will be to see others accept you for who you are. A life surrendered to, committed to and following the commands of Jesus will result in a happy, satisfied, fulfilled life with a purpose and a goal oriented mindset that will be fixed on Jesus Christ. Oh that we will do just that this Christmas season – a time on our calendar that we dedicate to the One whose birthday is the whole purpose of Christmas.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I rededicated myself anew to You this Christmas. I pray that You will direct me each and every day, especially during this busy time on my calendar. I pray that You will help me place my life in perspective – You first, and all else to follow as You direct. May I be deep into Your Word daily so that I may learn of and subsequently follow the plan You have designed for my life. May I be an influence to others, especially those that have not yet accepted You as Lord of their lives. Like Peter, Andrew, James and John, may I be obedient to Your call on my life and serve You willingly every day. Please touch the lives of all readers today that they too may first of all accept You as Lord, then submit their lives totally to You and Your service. You gave Your very best that very first ‘Christmas’, may we in turn give our very best to You this Christmas.

Speak in Boldness, But with a Humble Spirit


Studied: Matthew 3

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Matt 3:8 (NLT)

13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Matt 3:13-14 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Two things in particular caught my attention in this passage this morning:

  1. The boldness of John the BaptistHe was on mission for God and seems like he said what he felt led of God to say to the people that he preached to, without fear of repercussion from the government of that day, or the leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees). It seems like today we have become so politically correct in our churches in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings (and I don’t believe for a minute that we can only speak the truth if we know that someone’s feelings got hurt), but it just seems like we are afraid to say it like it is. An old saying that I always remember is that ‘if the shoe fits, wear it’, in other words if something that was said speaks to issues in your life, then obviously God is dealing with you through His spoken Word. As a people we have become so ‘thin-skinned’ that we retaliate when our feelings are hurt by holding back on our tithes, or not attending church, or gossiping about the preacher, etc, etc. Assuming that we have all prayed earnestly for the man of God, that he may discern God’s will and Word for us when he stands in the pulpit before us, are we then not challenging God Himself when we retaliate against the preaching or even God’s written Word? How dare us?
  2. The humbleness of John the Baptist – A man known for his boldness in speaking out, yet when Jesus comes to be baptized, John the Baptist said that in no way is he worthy to baptize the Savior of the world. How true this is. No matter how close we feel like we have become to God, we are but dirty rags compared to the only pure and Holy One of God. I believe that this is well worth keeping foremost in our minds so that we don’t let self pride come in the way. We are nothing without Christ, and we personally can do nothing miraculous, such as winning a lost soul or healing a sick person, but only through prayer and humble submission to the power and will of God. We should always pass any praise or glory straight on up to God for anything accomplished through us. It is encouraging for us to see lives touched by God because of something He may have said through us, but may our Words and actions be so filled with His love and His power that He may accomplish great things for the kingdom in spite of our human shortcomings.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I believe that much could be accomplished through us and our churches today if we used the boldness displayed by John the Baptist, yet the humble spirit that he displayed in the presence of the Holy Son of God. Lord Jesus, it is You that I serve and You that deserves all the praise for anything accomplished in Your name here on this earth. Please may I find boldness in serving You, but be ready to step aside and let the glory all go up straight to You. Please have Your will and way in my life today, and may  there be opportunities for Your glory to shine through in something that I may say or do today so that Your kingdom may be fulfilled. Opportunities will come and go, and so will my words, but I believe that as You use me as Your humble servant today, Your words spoken through me will touch the hearts of Your people with lasting power and effectiveness. To God be the Glory for all that will be accomplished in Your name today!