How did Jesus get up and walk to Jerusalem every day, into the faces of the people that hated him most, that he loved most?
Because every day he asked himself a question: What’s the greatest commandment?
And he answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.”
We can guess this because this would have been the way that every faithful Jewish person would have started every day:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
It’s from Deuteronomy 6, from the beginning of the teachings that Moses reviewed with the people of Israel just before he died.
Every morning, Jesus said this statement.
And then Jesus added a second command. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It was buried in Leviticus, a book of commands and teachings. Many of them are not relevant for people who aren’t wandering shepherds. But Jesus reaches into that book and draws out this phrase.
And during this week, on the last night before he died, he took these two commands, Love God and love each other, and put them at the heart of what it means to be his followers.
Because it was central to his life. Loving God completely. And loving others just as much.
We do face hard questions in the morning. How do I get up? How do I persevere? How do I make my legs move? How do I love? How do I face all the expectations and resistance inside and outside my head?
And though we repeat what Moses said, what Jesus resaid and elevated, we still struggle with how often we feel like we don’t measure up to the command.
But perhaps it’s not something to live up to. Perhaps it’s something to learn to live out.