Of the many instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples, the ones from which all the others flow are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment is found in Matthew 22:34-40 and is Jesus’ response when he was asked what is the most important command in the law. Jesus said that there are two – to Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to Love Your Neighbour as Yourself. The Great Commission is the task Jesus gave to his followers following his resurrection and is found in Matthew 28:16-20. It is to Make Disciples of All Nations.
At Christ Church Manchester, we speak about these three ideas using the language of Devotion, Community and Mission. This preaching series will explore each in turn, beginning with this message focused on what Devotion Is.
Loving God With All You Are (Matt 22:37) – The command that Jesus chose as the most important is a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:5. It is in instruction to love God and to do so using every aspect of who you are. In the quotation Jesus highlights the heart, the soul and the mind, representing our affections, our spirituality and our thinking and you could explore what is might look like to love God in these ways. These three are chosen not to limit the way we love God to just three things but to represent the idea of loving God with every part of our being.
Putting Jesus Before Ourselves (John 3:25-30) – John the Baptist had ministered for years as the prophetic forerunner who prepared the way for Jesus. When Jesus began his public ministry many people who had followed John went to follow Jesus, and John rejoiced at this, declaring ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ This is exactly the attitude at the heart of devotion. Devotion means a life built on magnifying Jesus rather than magnifying self.
Seeking Jesus’ Presence (Luke 10:36-42) – In this famous story, the sisters Mary and Martha are hosting Jesus in their home. There are a lot of practical things to do and Martha sets about getting on with them, whereas Mary chooses instead to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him. Jesus commends her choice. A devoted life means a life valuing the presence of Jesus as a priority even in the midst of the demands of a busy life.