What exactly is the 2nd greatest order? If you’re a scholar of Scripture, a believer, it’s possible that you said something like “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In the event that pastor Chris you did, you’d be correct – nearly.
Jesus himself said, “Adore the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your thoughts. Here is the very first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV). And this was Jesus’ response to the inquiry, “Which is the best commandment in the Law?” – referring, obviously, to the Law of Moses.
People come to me, Pastor Chris, as head of Christ Embassy and have questions about the most important commandment. Until Jesus came, the 2nd greatest order as mentioned in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19) was wholly acceptable. In fact, I presume it was the best we could hope for in terms of loving another human being. This really is The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12): Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But throw into the mix the very fact that sometimes we do love ourselves. Occasionally we are able to genuinely struggle to like what we are, what we do, and surely who we are. How can we be expected to love others as we love ourselves if we don’t even understand the way to love ourselves? There are days when many people fight merely to be fine to ourselves. So how can we love? Jesus gives the reply.
In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34, ESV). The bar has been lifted by Jesus. Not that he’s made it tougher to love (quite the reverse: With this specific order he also promises to pour out the love of God into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, thus enabling us to adore beyond human capability), but the concept of love itself has been raised!