The Second Greatest Commandment
“Teacher, which is the GREATEST COMMANDMENT in the Law? Jesus replied: 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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40.
When we consider the conditions under which our brethren are living in the refugee camps – the hunger at times, because it is not possible for the authorities to provide adequately for everyone, the humiliation and general inconvenience, the feelings of despair and sense of hopelessness with no idea of how long they must endure this hardship, especially for those with families and their concern for the future of their children in this pessimistic situation, and those older brethren whose aging bodies are suffering under these harsh conditions, how actively are we seeking to apply these two commandments – the greatest - in our love towards Our Heavenly Father? Jesus, the Son of God provided the example in submitting to his Heavenly Father’s will in giving his life, going the full length, suffering the heartless brutality of
crucifixion, to remove us from the hopeless bondage of our sinfulness “and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
(Ephesians 2:6). He fully realized and responded thus to God’s great love and entire focus to reclaim mankind to himself. This is the essence of Gospel Message, and therefore the basis of the two commandments, which in its absolute greatness, forms the support of all the law and prophets. In following Christ, our goal should be carrying out the will of our Heavenly Father in applying our lives to the principle of so pleasing him, by extending our effort to provide for our suffering brethren the same relief we need for ourselves. It was not easy for Jesus, as his entire life was one of sacrifice for mankind, climaxing in his crucifixion, but God was his stay, sending his angel to strengthen him when he appealed for the needed strength. While Jesus’ sacrifice was aimed at redeeming us from our sinfulness, he brought out in his parable in Luke 10:27–37, the practical way in our everyday lives, in which these commandments could be applied. Our brethren in the refugee could be likewise described as being stripped of all their possessions, wounded in spirit and lying half dead in their hopeless existence.
Notice unlike the Priest and Levite, the extent to which compassion moved the Samaritan – he went to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, setting him on his own beast, so that he had to walk instead, to take him to an inn to be cared for. He still proceeded on his business but after ensuring the required comfort of the victim. Our Heavenly Father wants us to make this kind of effort to take care of our suffering brethren, because he loves them enough too, to sacrifice his only begotten Son for us all. Just as compassion for us moved him to the extent of sacrificing His own son, we must be similarly motivated to make the required effort in resettling our brethren out of those camps, seeking for them, I suggest, a stable environment in their own country, if possible close to established ecclesias. In this way, we express the first and two greatest commandments.
Sis Esther Worrell (Canada)