Jesus Christ said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and to love your neighbour as yourself. And par excellence, Jesus walked the talk. This series of ten in-depth Bible studies from Mark’s gospel explore how Jesus met, encountered, and transformed different people’s lives and relationships.
The Christian interest in relationships derives from our understanding of God as trinity, three persons in perfect relationship. One God. Our relational God does not just focus attention inwards towards the other persons of the trinity, but reaches out in love to all those made in His image, and indeed to the whole of creation.
To help humanity understand what a relational society would be like, God chose Israel, and gave the Torah as instruction, or guidance, as to how to organise society, recognising the fallenness of humanity, in such a way as to provide stable and sustainable relationships. But there was still a gap. As humans seeking to follow Yahweh, we still had nobody to act as a model relational person – no example of what a perfect relational life would be like.
So God sent us Jesus. Of course Jesus’ main role was to die to save humankind from their sins, but his perfect life was an essential prerequisite for his death to achieve our salvation. So we can study his words, his actions, his attitudes and sometimes even his thoughts, as laid out for us in the New Testament, and see for ourselves what a perfect relational person is like, how he behaves, what he prioritises, how he loves. And although Jesus’ relationship with God is necessarily unique, that is been perfectly ‘one’ with God the Father (John 17: 11), yet he still points us towards what our relationship as humans could and should be with God the Father.
The purpose of these bible studies is to help the reader explore these themes. Although written originally as part of my personal daily reflections, and without the relational perspective at the front of my mind, I hope they will throw light on how Jesus demonstrates for us what it means to love God and to love our neighbour perfectly.