On the Tuesday before he went to the cross, Jesus had a conversation with a Jewish lawyer who asked, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?
It was a trick question, but Jesus answered it anyway. And his answer was profound:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
That was Jesus’ answer. What do you think of it?
All your heart? All your soul? All your mind? That’s not only all of me. That’s who I am!
I can think of only two kinds of people who’d claim they don’t break this commandment. Liars and fools. The truth is we break it every day. No, it breaks us.
So why would Jesus lay this on us?
Remember what day it was. In three days he’d be on a cross bleeding love. Love for sinners, yes, but more. He’d be bleeding love for God. He’d be obeying the great and first commandment, and he’d be doing it in our place and as our substitute.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law. So he loved God the Father and God the Spirit with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind—for us!
So does this get us off the hook? Should we forget the great and first commandment and all the others? Is that the meaning of the Good News?
Far from it. But there is a secret to obeying it. John put it in seven simple words:
I don’t think I’ve ever obeyed the great and first commandment, or the second one, without first remembering his great love. When I do, incredible enabling power is unleashed. His love fuels my love for Him and for others. When I don’t, I’m broken—so I go right back where I started—I remember the cross.
That’s why, to me, Good Friday is the best holiday of all.