Yeshua (Jesus) was asked a question by the Pharisees: “Which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:34-40)
Yeshua's reply to them was two fold. “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18).(1)
In the Ten Commandments that was handle down to Moses, they were broken into areas that we need to focus on. 1) that the first three are about loving God and 2) the other seven are about loving your neighbor.
If you read every line of the Bible, you’d be able to put each command in column A (love God) or column B (love your neighbor). So these two commandments are indeed the root of them all.
But the reason Yeshua's answer hits the Pharisees is that these two root commandments are precisely the ones the Pharisees keep breaking. Observance of the law for them is not an act of divine worship but rather of self-promotion. Rather than their observance of the law leading to love of neighbor, it leads to scorn of neighbors who fail to live up to their standards (see how they treat the blind man in John 9:24-34). Note what Paul, (the converted Pharisee), says: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).” Paul knew this from experience–he spent years as a gong.
Yet Yeshua did not say just to love. He said we must love the Lord with our WHOLE heart and soul and with ALL our mind and strength. So does wholehearted love of God leave no room in your heart for a spouse or children (personally I have asked this question for years)?If that were the case, there would be no second great commandment in this story. In fact Jesus says the second commandment is like the first. That’s because the kind of wholehearted love Jesus is talking about is agape, which means loving God for his own sake and all others for his sake, and doing so not by human strength, but with the divine love that is poured into our heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). When we love others with charity, we love God through them. Our every loving act towards them becomes an expression of our love for God. I want to thank Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosiofor sharing his incites on this topic.