Love Like Jesus
Late in Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Jesus is confronted by a lawyer who questions him as to what is truly important in the eyes and heart of God. The lawyer was motivated by self-interest, jealousy, and even a bit of fear, as Jesus’ teachings had challenged his thinking about his own relationships. The response Jesus delivers is clear and simple – love God, and love your neighbor. Coupled with the knowledge that Jesus consistently defined “neighbor” by word and action to mean the poor, the vulnerable, the alien, and the outcast, this statement would have been a stumbling block for any who sought to marginalize the very people Jesus proclaimed to be of value to God.