One week from today my Green Bay Packers will be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. My family is more than a little bit excited about the game. I trust that my thoughts about my team and the upcoming game will occupy some of my attention over the next seven days. However, I need to be on my guard lest I think more about football than I do about my God and Savior! Matthew records for us a very insightful event in the life of Jesus. After Jesus shut the mouths of the Sadducees, the Pharisees sent a lawyer to see if he could trap our Lord in His words (some things never change). Most of you probably remember the interaction. The lawyer asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Mt. 22:26) To his suprise, Jesus quoted Moses. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and will all your mind” (22:37 [Mark adds “with all your strength” in 12:30]). Jesus quoted from “the Great Shema” (Dt. 6:4,5), a passage which challenged the Israelites on the verge of entering the Promised Land to love God with their whole being. Jesus told the lawyer that the greatest of all commandments is to love God supremely. He is most deserving. In Sunday School this morning, we briefly discussed the competitors for our love. Some of them are good gifts of God (family, food, football). Others are actually enemies of God. The Apostle Paul listed three in 2 Timothy–love of self (3:2), love of money (3:2) and fleshly pleasure (3:4). A few years later, the Apostle John told his friends to not love the world (1 Jn. 2:15). Without a doubt, we are continually bombarded with temptation. “Whom do you love?” I asked that rhetorical question last week to my wife, and my little girl who was perched upon her lap replied, “Mine kitty cat.” My point exactly! Far too often we cherish the gifts more than the Giver of those gifts. I do love football, and I especially love the team I have cheered since I was my daughter’s age. But I do love Christ more because of His person and His works. Football teams disappoint. Jesus satisfies me today and He’ll do so for an eternity. I hope you have come to the same realization.
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