Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment

"There were times when Jesus taught and other times he simply met people's physical needs.  In each situation, he did what best demonstrated the dual nature of the kingdom of God- that it will last for eternity and is already here changing lives.  Rather than viewing the actions and teachings of Jesus as a rainbow spectrum of loving and necessary interactions, we often separate the colors with a distorted prism because we want to emphasize one thing or another.  Perhaps we have a personal preference for spoken evangelism or for fighting physical hunger, but our preferences should not place filters before our eyes and cause us to ignore the balance that's so evident in the life of Christ.

A clear example of an unfiltered viewpoint is the interplay between the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment.  Not long before departing the earth, Jesus commissioned his disciples, saying, 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you' (Matthew 28:19-20).

Yet only a few weeks earlier, Jesus had given the Greatest Commandment by stating, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ' love your neighbor as yourself' (Mathew 22:37-39).  The ministry of Christ demonstrated the seamless harmony of obeying both the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment." 
- Phil Smith, taken from The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty, p. 37.

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