Bible Verses

The greatest commandment

What is the most important commandment. Not a trivial question. At the time when Jesus was asked this, scholars had identified over 600 specific commandments that the Jews were expected to obey.

Jesus’ response in Matthew ch.22 v.37+ was simple and to the point. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – and your neighbour as yourself.

By putting the Father first, having a wholehearted, sincere love for Him, eveything else fits into perspective. Without that genuine afection and desire to please, we not only rob ourselves of true pleasure, but also make obedience an empy, unsatisfying experience.

Bible Verses

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

For they shall see God.

Take a look at Matthew ch.5 to 7 – it’s been described as the Manifesto of the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ main teachings focussed into a single arrangement.

The Beatitudes at the start of the Sermon on the Mount turn the natural order of things upside-down. The meek inherit the earth – when the natural order in a dog-eat-dog world is that those who don’t thrust forwards and push themselves to the front of the line should get nothing – a true prisoner’s dilemma!

And again – the pure in heart see God? But, it was common knowledge that if you were to look on His face, you would die! After all – how can the finite comprehend the infinite and survive?

There’s the key! In order to be pure in heart, you must first die to your old life of self-centredness.

Then you will see the Almighty, recognise His hand on your life, see Him at work in others, experience his life-transforming power.

We cannot understand fully the magnitude of who He is, the experience overwhelms us – but we can appreciate the evidence of His work as we glimpse eternity for ourselves.

Bible Verses

Lent Meditation (1)

Matthew ch.4 v.1 tells us that Jesus went into the wilderness. Why?

To be tempted – it seems strange. We pray, “lead us not into temptation” but Jesus knew that that his experience in the wilderness would result in a powerful encounter with the accuser. This is an important point that cannot be ignored.

We need to prepare to face and be victorious over whatever would beset us at the end of our own time in the wilderness. Our weapons should be the same as those of our Lord: the Word of God, handled correctly. Anything else will not work.

To meet with the Father – there were far fewer distractions in the wilderness. It may be worth thinking about this the next time you find yourself metaphorically in the wilerness, stripped of distracting opportunities to minister, you can focus on what really matters.

To prepare for power – without the first two, there would be no point to this final entry. It is after Jesus’ baptism and wilderness experience that we see Him exercising real power to turn the world around Him upside-down.

That same power is available to us – but it comes at a price. To follow Jesus’ example as a powerful man of God, it is necessary to follow His example of dependence on the Father and His Word in the wilderness.