“But when the Pharisees heard that [Jesus] had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to Him, ‘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. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matt. 22:34-40, ESV)
Many people who have been a part of the church for any length of time are familiar with this verse. Because of this, we might start to miss the power and significance of this interaction with Jesus, particularly the first part that says, “He silenced the Sadducees.”
Now, the Sadducees were a Jewish sect at the peak of societal influence. Unfortunately, as the Jewish aristocrats of the day, they also not only had a position of high authority in society but were known to be nearly as religiously devout as they were corrupt. It was an interesting dynamic, to say the least. And yet, despite what their position might have afforded them, somehow Jesus silenced them. What life with Jesus boils down to is this: love for God and love for others. It is as simple as it is complex, and this is a reality the Sadducees did not understand.
As Pastor Josh pointed out in his message on Sunday, as followers of Jesus Christ, we live in a Kingdom belonging to Jesus that is both here today, and not quite yet. It is not a full-on heaven on earth reality, but it is a reality in which we have the privilege of participating if we truly do “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] mind.” It is the opportunity to do as Jesus instructs after declaring that “all authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him: “go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19).” We are invited in to change the world, one disciple at a time. And we are able to bring at least a slice of heaven with us in the process.
Will you join with us at Harvest and accept the invitation?
Here is the catch, though: Unless you truly know Jesus, and have allowed the Holy Spirit to begin transforming your life, your task of disciple-making will not be fruitful. We must allow God to begin forging our hearts, minds, and souls to become what they were created to be. We can then connect with the profound words of Proverbs 4:23 (ESV): “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
A heart transformed by Jesus is one that compels us to go and introduce everyone we can to our new lives in Him. For as Paul reminds us in Romans 10:14-15 (ESV), “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
We can be those “good news” people. We can be the “goers” so taken by Jesus that silence is not even an option; our hearts are too full.
The Apostle Peter sums it up well when he says, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV)
This is who we are at Harvest, and this is what we want our mission, vision, and values to point to now and for eternity— in God’s Kingdom that is both here now, and not quite yet.
This is who we want to become together, and if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you too are an essential part of it.
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10).”
QUESTIONS TO AKS YOURSELF …
- What stirs up your affections for Jesus? And what robs you of those affections?
- Who do you want to be as a member of God’s Kingdom?
- What steps can you take today to see Jesus for who He really is? How can you see yourself for who He wants you to be?
- If you are a follower of Jesus, how has your life been transformed?