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The conclusion to What Is The Greatest Commandment gives us the opportunity to choose between religion and love, just as the Pharisees did in this episode. 

What Is The Greatest Commandment-2

Continued from What Is the Greatest Commandment

2. Comparison: Because we're looking back at them and at what the Bible says about these things, we can easily make a comparison between religion and love and say with little hesitation which side they should have chosen. Most of us don't even need a comparison, but let's be thorough. Jesus described the nature of religion and religious leaders in the episode we're studying today. Paul taught the Corinthians about Love, a few decades after this episode. Let's compare the two:

1) Religion rules and bosses <> Love serves

2) Religion hides behind hypocrisy <> Love rejoices with the truth

3) Religion craves attention, honor and money <> Love is not self-seeking or envious

4) Religion is legalistic <> Love is patient and kind

5) Religion projects a pious image <> Love is not proud or boastful

6) Religion destroys people <> Love protects, trusts, hopes and doesn't enjoy evil

7) Religion is guaranteed to fail <> Love never fails

3. Choice: Of course, we know which side Jerusalem chose. It's easy for us to declare how wrong they were to side with the religious leaders instead of Jesus. How could they make such an obviously bad decision? Oh, it's so easy for us to judge those people 2,000 years ago. But that choice isn't the one God has called us here to discuss. It does us no good to just look at something that happened then, and say, "Oooooh, wasn't that interesting?" If we're going to benefit from it we must see how it applies to our lives today. Their experience gives us an opportunity to make a choice. Jerusalem chose tradition over revolution. They chose comfort over change. They chose authority over servanthood. They chose power over submission to God. They chose the material world of symbols and rules and buildings and titles over the Spiritual Kingdom of God. They chose religion over Love. But what about us? Their decision is made…it's in the bag. We can study it and brag about how we wouldn't have done it, but we don't have their choice to make…we have ours.

Our choice is no easier than theirs, but this is why we’re here today. Just as it was then, Jesus will not allow us to live in the state of Indecision. We must choose who we will serve. Every choice we make with respect to God is a decision between religion and Love. When we decide where and how to worship, are we looking for true worshipers or are we looking for traditional religious symbols, like buildings, kids programs, pulpits, crosses, etc? Will we donate our time and money to places that truly carry the love of Jesus to people or do we give religiously, caring more about the amount of the gift than the use of it for God's purposes? Will we choose to follow and give honor to the invisible God or to visible humans with titles and "credentials" and "positions"? Hard choice or not, we will choose, because Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.

We must decide Who we will serve.

Dear Lord! Give us the wisdom to make the hard choices. Help us to choose you rather than "float" through life avoiding decisions. Once we have chosen you, mold us so that all our decisions reflect that one big one. Lead us to worship, serve, give to, honor and follow only you. Amen!

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