On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The legal expert asking Jesus about eternal life was trying to force Him to give an answer that could then be debated and disproved. Instead, Jesus asks a question of him and the legal expert, used to responding, answers quickly according to the law. Jesus has turned the tables, showing this man that God has already given us the answers, we must now understand and accept them.
We’ve all encountered that situation – someone asks us a question, not really wanting the true answer but only to debate or change what they know is the correct response. We do this with God all the time. We already know the answer but we’d like a different one, an exception, an “out”. God is a patient and loving parent, but He is also constant and consistent. His answers are always the same.
Jesus will have more to say about this, not because the truth ever changes, but to help us understand God’s love. The legal expert has it right in this case – to love God and love others is the way to eternal life. When we accept this truth and begin to practice it, we obey God’s law.
Gracious God, we are constantly looking for a loophole, an escape clause that would let us avoid our duty to You and our neighbor. Help us to be responsible in our attitude and behavior, obeying the commandments of love You have given. Amen.