The Gospel of Matthew

The Greatest Commandment

This devotional is written by Helen Bunker. Helen has been part of St Mary's for over 9 years and is a Marylebone local and Small Group leader

Matthew 22:34-46

The greatest commandment

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'

37 Jesus replied: '"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: "Love your neighbour as yourself."[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'

Whose son is the Messiah? 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 'What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?'

'The son of David,' they replied.

43 He said to them, 'How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him "Lord"? For he says,

44 '"The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'"

45 If then David calls him "Lord", how can he be his son?' 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.


These verses contain the greatest commandment, which in many ways is beautifully simple. To love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbour.

As I write this devotional during Lockdown 3 in England, when our lives are in many ways diminished from what they were only a year ago, I wonder how easy you find it to follow. Do you have more space, time and energy to give to Him, or do you feel so squashed and squeezed by the events of the last year that even getting through the day feels hard?

Many of us have lived in a heightened state of vigilance all year, whatever our circumstances. Months of pandemic worry has taken its toll and we are tired.

Can we make it really simple? To pare back what Jesus is saying? To trust that that is enough?

If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, with our entire being, then we will want to serve Him. And when we love Him, we can't help but love others because we are filled with His love and that love flows through us. The more we love Him, the more our love continues to grow. If you feel you barely have anything left to give, give what you have. If you are full to the brim with love, give what you have. That love will grow. It cannot help it.

If you're finding today tough, I encourage you to drop the resistance. To trust and to give it to Him. To soften and treat yourself with gentleness and kindness. To simply love.

I invite you to pray this prayer:

Thank You for loving me. Help me to love You more and to reflect Your love by loving myself and my neighbour.

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