Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.
But Jesus caps this off with a profound hermeneutical reflection, one that says “I know the commands; these are the top two.”
There is no commandment greater than these.
I sometimes am told that what I call the Jesus Creed is simple, or soft-headed and mushy, or light. I know whereof such persons speak because I once thought that way. But, the more I study the New Testament and the more I examine my own life and how to live, the more convinced I am that the Jesus Creed, while it may sound simple, is the most demanding command of Jesus.
Not only that, the Jesus Creed was picked up in the New Testament by the apostles. Paul is a good example. Paul combines two words not often combined — in fact, let’s add a third word. Here they are, and they go together:
Spirit, freedom, and love.
Below you will find Galatians 5:13ff.
Now here’s my question: Can you spell freedom without including Spirit and love? Can you spell Spirit without it meaning love and freedom? Can you spell love without it meaning Spirit and freedom?
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command [here Paul quotes the second half of the Jesus Creed: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self‑control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.