The Most Important Teaching: Love for God and Neighbor
More than once people did ask Jesus Christ which was His most important teaching in order to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Some asked because they wanted to know and others did to find a reason to accuse Him.
Thus one day, a Jewish lawyer (a man who studied the Law of God) wishing to put Jesus Christ to the test asked Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus Christ said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments rest all the law and the prophets.”
This means everything that the Law of God teaches about which the prophets spoke is contained entirely in these two major laws. That is, all the commandments of the law and its teachings speak to us about love. If we had within ourselves such love, then all the remaining laws could be abolished, for they are all subdivisions of the law about love. Thus, for example, if we love our neighbor, then we would not be able to offend him or cheat him, much less kill him, or envy him; and, in general, we would not wish him any kind of evil. On the contrary, we would pity him, care for him, and be ready to sacrifice everything for him. Therefore, Jesus Christ said, “There are no other commandments greater than these” (Mark 12:31).
The lawyer said to Him, “You are right, Teacher! You have truly said that to love God with all one’s being and to love one’s neighbour as oneself is much more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus Christ saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28.