…our Lord was asked, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?”
Jesus chose none of the Ten Commandments (in Ex. 20 and Deut.5) as the greatest; he…specified Deuteronomy 6:5 – “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The second greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” He went on to say, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:34-40), i.e., all the ethical demands of the Old Testament can be summed up in those.
Christ’s answer reveals that he regarded “the law” as including Deuteronomy and Leviticus; he did not see it as a reference to only the Ten Commandments. And, according to our Lord, the two greatest commandments are found outside of the Ten Commandments.
My two cents
Wow, I hadn’t quite realised that until someone explained it like this. Too many times I hear of Christians who accept the Ten Commandments, and that’s enough to obey, so they can ditch big chunks of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. According to Jesus, that’s off the mark.
I think there are several nominal Christians who assume that the Ten Commandments must be the most important. I think a more accurate take is that the Ten Commandments summarise the rest the law—including the most important two commandments from our Lord.
Warner, T. (n.d). Confessions of a Former Sabbath Keeper. Available: http://www.ukapologetics.net/sabbath.html. Last accessed 1st Feb 2013.