Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31).
Note that the use of the notion of ‘first’ in this context is referring to ‘first in importance’ and not ‘first in time’, for that would be in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it”, the ‘have dominion’ aspect being the consequence.
From the Mark reference above, firstly, we should note that the commandment is “Hear O Israel”, and in Jewish understanding, it is listed as the First Commandment. He instructs us to hearken, if you will, to take heed, to fully embrace, to make part of our core essence, the statement that then follows. And so that you don’t think this relates only to the Jews, the word ‘Israel’ can be translated as ‘Prince of God’. Being in the Old Testament, this holds true for the ‘children (young) of the King of Kings, but of course in Christ we are fully matured and have taken up our rightful position as kings and priests, co-sitting on the throne with ALL power and authority.
Have you ever wondered why when asked what is the first commandment, Jesus seems to give us two? Note that His definition starts with ‘The LORD is one’. This implies there is no other god. We cannot create, nor is there created from other sources, another god. In Genesis 1:26 we see that God wanted to make an image and likeness of Himself, thus man became manifest. So, humanity became the essence of God within His creation. Note that humanity was not a different being, but part of the original. An effect of the ‘Fall’ was that humanity forgot their true nature and accepted ‘The Lie’ of not being of God’s essence. There was, and still is, only the One God, of which you-manity is part, even if we don’t believe it.
Jesus then goes on to say that we should revere that God with all of our being, for He says that exactly ‘like’ this, we are immersed totally into the essence of God. And realising this we find not only ourselves, but all of humanity in the reality of God. We are immersed (baptized) in the total Godness of humanity. It is not possible to separate ourselves to be less than the LORD, as we are infused in the godhead, for He has made us His dwelling place.
This obviously leads us to show veneration, and compassion, and justice – indeed LOVE, for God is love (1 John 4:8) – to all the other members of humanity who are also part of God’s essence, no matter how hard they may try to act otherwise.