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Jesus: if you miss love, you don’t “know” the Bible

April 13, 2024

Daily Scripture

John 5:35-40, Matthew 22:35-38, 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

John 5
35 John was a burning and shining lamp, and, at least for a while, you were willing to celebrate in his light.
36 “I have a witness greater than John’s testimony. The Father has given me works to do so that I might complete them. These works I do testify about me that the Father sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me testifies about me. You have never even heard his voice or seen his form, 38 and you don’t have his word dwelling with you because you don’t believe the one whom he has sent. 39 Examine the scriptures, since you think that in them you have eternal life. They also testify about me, 40 yet you don’t want to come to me so that you can have life.

Matthew 22
35 One of them, a legal expert, tested him. 36 “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being [Deuteronomy 6:5], and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself [Leviticus 19:18]. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

1 Corinthians 8
1 Now concerning meat that has been sacrificed to a false god: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. 2 If anyone thinks they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. 3 But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus challenged the Pharisees in Jerusalem, some of the world’s top experts on the Hebrew Scriptures. Many of them could recite huge sections of the Bible from memory. Yet Jesus said they missed the focal point of the Bible’s story—they wouldn’t recognize him as God among them. Missing that focal point, Jesus said, just a vast technical knowledge of the Bible could not bring them life. Pastor Hamilton wrote that reading the Bible wisely calls for a principle like “a kitchen colander or strainer, holding the important things while the less desirable are rinsed off.” He said the best “strainer” is “What is the heart, character, and will of God that Jesus reveals?… It is Jesus who serves as the final Word by which other words of scripture are to be judged.” *

  • Pastor Frederick Buechner wrote, “Jesus said the one supreme law is that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and our neighbor as ourselves. ‘On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets’ is the way he put it (Matthew 22:40), meaning that all lesser laws are to be judged on the basis of that supreme one. In any given situation, the lesser law is to be obeyed if it is consistent with the Law of Love and superseded if it isn’t…. A legalistic religion like the Pharisees’ is in some ways very appealing. All you have to do in any kind of ethical dilemma is look it up in the book and act accordingly. Jesus… says all you have to do is love God and your neighbors. That may seem still more appealing until, in dilemma after dilemma, you try to figure out just how to go about doing it.” ** How does Jesus’ teaching make clear the importance of a faith willing to think critically, rather than one that just seeks to blindly follow a book of rules?

Lord Jesus, lead my mind and heart beyond rigid ideas and frameworks. Meet me as I come to the Bible, speak your life-giving word into my heart and guide me to live out your love. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Cathy Bien

Cathy Bien

Cathy Bien serves as the Lead Director of Communications and Public Relations at Church of the Resurrection. She and her husband Rick have been members of the church since 1993 and have four adult children and two grandsons (one a very recent arrival!).

The last time I wrote the GPS insights, I was celebrating the birth of a new grandson. This week, my first granddaughter was born Thursday night. Just a coincidence? I think not.

Our scripture passages today speak about the importance of love – loving God and loving our neighbors and how Jesus taught that these two commandments are the foundation of our faith. As I look into the sweet face of this new life – a true miracle – I see the love of God. As I think about how her family and our friends have been praying for her, and loving her before she was even born, I catch a glimpse of God’s great love for us.  

There are two takeaways from today’s scripture passages for me. First is how we love a God who never gives up on us. Not matter how flawed we may be, or how we might stray and disappoint, God’s love never ceases.  It’s easy to love a new baby, but as every parent and grandparent can tell you, there will be times when children may put our love to the test. Yet, our love never fails.

Second, when it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves, I can’t help but think of what would it look like if we could look upon every individual we encounter as a child of God–a human being who is loved and loves. When I look at my sweet granddaughter, Betty Ann, I am filled with an overwhelming, unconditional love.  My prayer is that I may experience this kind of love in every encounter I have with my “neighbors,” remembering that each is a beloved child of God. Let us love God, and love our neighbors who are the children of the God we love.


© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam. Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today (pp. 176, 177). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
** From Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark: A Doubters Dictionary. HarperSanFrancisco, 1988.