Passover: Loving God with All Your Heart, Soul and MindMarch 25, 2017
With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind
During the Han dynasty in China, there was a general named Li Guang, a master of archery. One evening, while passing through a forest, he saw a tiger sitting in a bush a little away from him. Sensing the danger, he drew an arrow, aimed, and shot at it. The arrow accurately struck the forehead of the tiger. Yet, it remained motionless. He carefully approached the tiger, only to realise that it was not a tiger but a huge rock in the shape of a tiger. One thing surprised him: how did the arrow get stuck in the rock? He moved backwards, shot his arrow again and again, but each time, the arrow just bounced off the rock. From this, came the ancient Chinese phrase “中石没鏃”, which means that if one focuses all his strength, there is nothing impossible for him.
God Loves Us With All His Heart, Soul and Mind
God loves us with all His heart, focusing only on us and our salvation. There is nothing He cannot do to save us.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.Luke 19:10
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.Hebrews 2:14-15
To seek and to save His lost children, God gave up all power and glory in heaven. Humbling Himself, He came as a man, being made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:5-9), and willingly endured all kinds of pain and suffering for us.
Love God With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind
Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.
… Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”Matthew 22:34-38
Why did Jesus tell us that loving God with a 100% love is the first commandment? It is because God first loved us in this way. When we put this commandment into practice, we can understand more how deep the love of God is.
How Can We Love God With All Our Hearts?
How can we love God fully? It may seem a little vague to us, especially since we are weak sinners who may set our minds more towards worldly desires (Romans 8:5-6). In the Bible, there is a good example of a man whom God acknowledged as one who loved God with all his heart, soul and mind. He is King Josiah.
Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.2 Kings 23:25
King Josiah was given such a praise because he kept the Passover.
The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God …” Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed …2 Kings 23:21-23
Thus, when we keep the Passover just as Josiah did, we can also receive the same testimony from God that we love God fully. When we look through the Bible, we can see that the Passover and the first commandment have an inseparable relationship.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength … Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Deuteronomy 6:4-8
This observance (Passover) will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead …Exodus 13:8-9
God requested His people to tie the first commandment on their hands and bind it on their foreheads, and this goes the same for the Passover as well. Thus, the Passover itself is the first commandment.
How Does the Passover Lead Us to Love God Fully?
1) Passover Destroys Other gods
The first commandment among the Ten Commandments is as follows:
… You shall have no other gods before me.Exodus 20:3
If we are unable to distinguish who the true God is, we may unknowingly worship other gods and fail to love only God with all our hearts. The way to clearly recognise the true God is through the Passover.
… I will bring judgment on all the gods …Exodus 12:12
God designated the Passover as the day of judgment of other gods. When other gods are destroyed and ruled out, we can easily distinguish the true God, and thereby, come to serve only God and love Him fully. Throughout the history of Israel, whenever the Passover was kept, the spiritual eyes of the people were opened so they could destroy the idols they had served unknowingly until that time.
The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God … Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem.2 Kings 23:21-24
Hezekiah … celebrate the Passover to the Lord …2 Chronicles 30:1
When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh …2 Chronicles 31:1
Truly, the Passover is the truth that enables us to serve and love only God with all our heart, by destroying other gods.
2) Passover Contains the Sacrifice of God
The Passover of the old covenant kept with the blood of lambs serves as a shadow (Hebrews 10:1). Through it, we cannot fulfil the first and greatest command Jesus told us. This is because we cannot fully realise the sacrifice of God with the sacrifice of animals. On the other hand, the Passover of the new covenant was established through God’s sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7). When we realise the sacrificial love of God, we can come to love Him with all our hearts. Therefore, let us cherish God’s love in our hearts by valuing the Passover and keeping it holy.