The Most Important Story

The Most Important Story

As the book of Genesis begins to draw to a close, so too does the life of Jacob. Dear Jacob who, at the age of 130 upon meeting Pharaoh told him that his years on earth had been “few and difficult” and “not equal” to “the years of the pilgrimage” of his fathers,[1] would go on to live in Egypt, as stated in verse 28 of Genesis 47, “seventeen years” so that “…the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.” But before he died, he had some final housekeeping to tend to: the adoption and blessing of Joseph’s sons, which we’ll look at this morning; and the blessing of his own sons, which we’ll consider in a couple of weeks.

As stated in verses 29 and 30, “29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.’” Joseph conceded to his father’s request, responding, “I will do as you say.” Understandably, Israel desired to be buried where his grandfather Abraham and father Isaac had been buried, in the land of Canaan where the LORD had appeared to him and which land he had promised to one day give to his descendants. So important was this request that Israel said to Joseph, verse 31, “Swear to me.” Once Joseph had sworn, “Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.”

As Genesis 48 opens “some time later,” Joseph was told that his father was sick. Therefore Joseph, “took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him.” Upon learning that Joseph had come to him, verse 2, “Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed” for he had three things he wanted to tell his son before he died. First and most important, Jacob recounted for Joseph the awesome account of when the LORD first appeared to him. Now coming from a family in which I had a story-teller for a father—a father who repeatedly told certain stories to my brother and my delight—I’d like to think that this particular story was one that Jacob relished telling his sons, daughters, and grandchildren. But unlike the stories our parents may have told us of the days when they were younger, this particular story was a momentous one for as “Jacob said to Joseph,” starting with verse 3, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’” Jacob had been a young man when the LORD first appeared to him.[2] At that time he was single and fleeing from Esau, his twin brother—recall that Jacob had reason to flee after stealing his brother’s inheritance and birthright.[3] Consequently, his parents had sent him to find a wife from among his mother’s household.[4] But the part of the story Jacob now told Joseph was the most important for he told about the time when God Almighty, El-Shaddai, had first appeared to him. This was the most important part for from that point forward, nothing in his life was ever the same.

Now when Israel first set out for Egypt after learning that Joseph was alive and governor there, we saw that Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were included in a list of those who had gone to Egypt with Jacob[5]—although the list correctly noted that they had been born to Joseph during the time he had been living in Egypt.[6] If you’ll recall, Joseph’s two sons were born to him during the seven years of abundance, before the time of famine.[7] Manasseh was his firstborn and Ephraim was born second. Now in what transpired we learn the second point Israel told Joseph before he died: he would make Joseph’s sons his own. As stated in verse 5, he said to him, “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.” And notice that despite Manasseh having been born first, Jacob placed Ephraim’s name first. As we’ll see, this reversing of names was intentional on Jacob’s part. Further, in equating Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, with his own first- and second-born sons Reuben and Simeon, Jacob was making clear that these two grandsons would be considered to be his sons. As noted by one commentator, “Joseph received the rights of firstborn and the double portion through Jacob’s adoption and elevation of his two sons to the status of founding fathers among Israel’s twelve tribes.”[8] This is further underscored in verse 6 when he stated, “Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers.” The adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob explains why later, when the twelve tribes of Israel were formed from his twelve sons, the list included Joseph’s two sons when Levi’s descendants were set aside to serve as the priestly class.[9]

Well, Israel ended by telling Joseph the third—and hardest—and saddest part of his story, the death of his beloved and favorite wife Rachel, verse 7: “As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.” (And the parenthetical note states that Ephrath is Bethlehem.) It’s touching to think that so many years after the death of Rachel, Israel yet grieved her passing and sought to keep her memory alive for his children.

Now Israel’s next comment, recorded in verse 8, may strike us as odd for having just said that Joseph’s sons would be taken to be his, upon seeing them he asked, “Who are these?” But it’s likely that the explanation for this question is provided in verse 10: “Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see.” In other words, the problem wasn’t so much that of recognizing Joseph’s adult sons[10] as of being able to see them in the first place—all of us who depend upon the wonderful gift of eyeglasses in order to see clearly can relate! Too, as already noted, the time for Israel to die was drawing near. He was ill and had only “rallied his strength” when he heard Joseph had come to see him.

Well, when asked about his sons, Joseph told his father, verse 9, “They are the sons God has given me here.” Then his father asked him to bring them to him so that he might bless them. When Joseph did so, as stated at the end of verse 10, “his father kissed them and embraced them.” And then he made the poignant comment recorded in verse 11, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.” With this observation, we’re reminded of the terrible pain Israel had suffered when his sons deceived and led him to believe that Joseph, who was only seventeen at the time, had been eaten by a wild animal. Over 20 years passed before he learned the truth:[11] that the current ruler of Egypt was his precious and treasured favorite son, firstborn of his precious and treasured favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph no doubt had felt the same for when his brothers had sold him into slavery, it’s likely he never expected to see his father again either. And yet through God’s gracious providence, father and son had not only been able to see one another’s faces again, but had been able to do so for the same amount of time, seventeen years, that they had spent together when Joseph was first sold into slavery. As Joseph’s first seventeen years of life had been spent with Jacob, Jacob’s final seventeen years of life were able to be spent with Joseph.

Next, as stated beginning with verse 12, “12 Then Joseph removed [his sons] from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him.” Since in the ritual of blessing, the right hand would give the first and most important blessing—and as the firstborn, this blessing rightly belonged to Manasseh—Joseph was making sure that his eldest was properly situated at his father’s right hand. However, as noted in verse 14, “Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.” In other words, at least from Joseph’s perspective, his father had gotten it all wrong.

Joseph’s reaction is noted beginning with verse 17: “17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, ‘No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.’” But, alas, Israel hadn’t made an error due to his poor eyesight or advanced age. As recorded in verse 19, “But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.’” And it’s perhaps worth noting that this wasn’t the first time a younger brother had been blessed, against convention, over an older for the same had occurred when Isaac was blessed over Ishmael,[12] Jacob was blessed over Esau,[13] and Joseph himself was blessed over Reuben.

The blessings Israel pronounced are recorded in two places, verse 15–16 and verse 20. Although verse 15 states that Israel blessed Joseph, this is actually a blessing upon his sons as Israel acted upon what he had stated earlier in verse 5, namely, “your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.” Therefore, as stated beginning with verse 15, “15 Then [Israel] blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.’” In this blessing, Jacob again hearkened to his first meeting with the LORD when he appeared to him in a vision of angels ascending and descending on a ladder or stairway and, as promised, had kept him from harm.[14]

In these verses we also see established the pattern of referring to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.[15] In the polytheistic world in which the events recorded in the Old Testament—and later the New—took place, it was important to know which God one worshiped for the God who had disclosed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the very God who later his sent his Son in the Person of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles alike. As Israel’s God had been his shepherd and delivered him from all harm, so later God’s promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ, also disclosed himself to be the Good Shepherd who guides, cares for, and lays down his life for any and all who turn to him.[16]

Last, Israel’s first blessing closes with his passing on the baton to Joseph’s sons as he asks God that they, like himself and Abraham and Isaac before him, might “increase greatly on the earth.” As he and his grandfather and father had been promised by God that their descendants would increase on earth, so now were Joseph’s sons made the same promise by way of this blessing from their grandfather Israel.

In his second blessing, Israel brings to the fore the prominence of Joseph’s younger son, Ephraim, over Manasseh, his older brother. As stated in verse 20, Israel “blessed them that day and said, ‘In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.” In switching the order of their names, placing the second-born Ephraim ahead of the first-born Manasseh, Jacob thereby indicated his prominence over his older brother.

The chapter closes with Israel saying to Joseph, verses 21–22, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.” Once a favorite, always a favorite. At the end of his life, Israel yet again gave his firstborn and favorite son by way of Rachel, his favorite wife, “one more ridge of land” than he had given to his brothers. Since the word for “ridge of land” is identical with the place name “Shechem,” it may be that Joseph was given the part of Shechem that Jacob had earlier purchased.[17]

Now in turning to our companion passage from Acts 9, we see that just as Israel told Joseph the story of how God Almighty, El-Shaddai, first appeared to him, so too did the apostle Paul (also known as Saul).[18] There are three elements to Paul’s story:

First, Paul persecuted followers of Christ. As stated in the first part of verse 1, “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.”

Second, Paul met the risen Christ while on his way to Damascus, verses 3–5: “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied….”

And last, the LORD used Ananias, one of Jesus’ disciples, to minister to Paul, verses 10 and 15: “10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered….15 …the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man [i.e., Saul] is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.’”

Again, what we see in various places in the New Testament is that as Jacob never forgot his initial encounter with God, neither did Paul. Notice the similarities of these later first-hand accounts of Paul with that told by Luke in Acts 9:

Acts 22 tells how Paul told about these events when he was arrested in Jerusalem. He began by stating how he had acted towards Jesus’ followers saying, “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,….;”[19] Next he told about meeting the risen Christ: “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied….”[20] And he ended by telling about Ananias’ role: “12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there….14 [Ananias] said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.’”[21]

Paul testified to his meeting the risen Lord Jesus yet again when he was brought before King Agrippa. This time leaving out mention of Ananias, he again began by telling the king about how he had persecuted Jesus’ followers: “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.”[22] Then he again told the awesome account of how he met the risen Lord:

12 On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 15 Then I asked, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the Lord replied. “16 Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”[23]

In his letter to the Galatians Paul yet again told of these wondrous events. As always, he began by noting how he had persecuted Christ’s church: “11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.”[24] And then he went on to state Christ’s call upon his life: “15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”[25]

Last, but certainly not least, Paul speaks of Christ’s appearing to him in the wonderful fifteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.[26]

It was only after Christ died for the sins of those who believe in him—and was buried—and on the third day rose from death that he appeared to Cephas, the twelve, over five hundred of his followers at the same time, James, all the apostles and then, and only then, to Paul, “the least of the apostles” who again, in his own estimation did “not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

This is why we call grace, amazing, isn’t it? God’s grace, his unmerited favor, is amazing because by it God takes those who attack—or ignore—or deny—or disobey him and nonetheless draws them—draws us—to himself by his Holy Spirit, allowing us to receive eternal life instead of the eternal punishment we deserve, by placing our punishment upon his Son who voluntarily took our place.

This story of God’s redemption, of God exchanging his Son with us, allowing him to receive our punishment in order that all who believe in him might be delivered from their sins and instead receive his righteousness and eternal life in and through and with him, is the most important story we could ever know. As Jacob told Joseph the story of when God first appeared to him; and Paul told the story of when the risen Christ first appeared to him, so should all who have similarly met the risen Christ take advantage of every opportunity to tell others about him. For, again, the story of meeting—and getting to know—and getting to love—and living for—and serving our great Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is surely the most important story we will ever know. Therefore, it’s the most important story we will ever tell. For coming to know God should result in everything else changing, even as it did for Jacob and Paul. Coming to know God should result in our seeking to align our priorities with his as he’s disclosed them to us in his Old and New Testament Scriptures. It should result in our doing everything in our power to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and each other as ourselves.[27] It should result in our heeding Jesus’ final words to his disciples before he ascended into heaven to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[28]

Dear sisters and brothers, so let us do; so let us pray:

Benediction: Colossians 3:12–14: 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

[1] Genesis 47:9: And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” Abraham died at 175 and Isaac at 180. See, respectively, Genesis 25:7-10: 7 Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.; Genesis 35:28-29: 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

[2] See sermon preached on October 18, 2020, Let’s Follow the Angels! on Genesis 28:10–22.

[3] See sermon preached on October 4, 2020, Jacob Deceived—Isaac Had Faith on Genesis 27:1–40.

[4] See sermon preached on October 11, 2020, Treasure God on Genesis 27:41–28:9

[5] Genesis 46:8: These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt:

[6] Genesis 46:20: In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.

[7] Genesis 41:50, 53–54:50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On…. 53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.” See sermon preached on March 14, 2021, The Value—and Hope!—of History on Genesis 41:33–57.

[8] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 48:1. One of the passages notes is 1 Chronicles 5:2: and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph). The note on Genesis 48:5 further states, “The first two sons of Leah are mentioned because they are bypassed to give the double portion to Joseph, Rachel’s firstborn. Reuben lost his rights to firstborn because he defiled his father’s marriage bed.” As stated in Genesis 35:22: While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.

[9] See, e.g., Numbers 1:20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 47–50: 20 From the descendants of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel…. 22 From the descendants of Simeon…. 24 From the descendants of Gad…. 26 From the descendants of Judah…. 28 From the descendants of Issachar…. 30 From the descendants of Zebulun…. 32 From the sons of Joseph: From the descendants of Ephraim…. 34 From the descendants of Manasseh…. 36 From the descendants of Benjamin…. 38 From the descendants of Dan…. 40 From the descendants of Asher…. 42 From the descendants of Naphtali…. 44 These were the men counted by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, each one representing his family…. 47 The ancestral tribe of the Levites, however, was not counted along with the others. 48 The Lord had said to Moses: 49 “You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites. 50 Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the covenant law—over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and encamp around it.

[10] Since Manasseh and Ephraim had been born in Egypt prior to the seven years of famine and Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, Joseph’s sons were likely in their 20s.

[11] If Joseph was 17 when he was sold to slavery (Genesis 37:2b, 28: …Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers…. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt), 30 when he entered Pharaoh’s service (Genesis 41:46: Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.), and seven years of plenty had passed before the famine (Genesis 41:47, 53–54): 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully….53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said.) and two years of famine had passed before he sent his brothers to Canaan to bring back their father (Genesis 45:6, 11a: For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping…. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come.), then Joseph was around 39 when he first saw his father again, or 22 years later.

[12] Genesis 17:18–19: 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” 19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

[13] Genesis 25:23: The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

[14] Genesis 28:15: I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

[15] Later Joseph took his father’s words to heart for after his father had died and he himself was about to die, he said to his brothers, Genesis 50:24: “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

[16] See John 10:11, 14–15: 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

[17] See Genesis 33:18–19: 18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver, he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.” Later Joseph would be buried in Shechem. See Joshua 24:32: And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

[18] See, for example, Acts 13:9: “Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,….” Paul went by both Paul and Saul even as Jacob was referred to as both Jacob and Israel.

[19] Acts 22:4.

[20] Acts 22:6–8.

[21] Acts 22:12, 14.

[22] Acts 26:9–10.

[23] Acts 26:12–18.

[24] Galatians 1:11–13. Emphasis added.

[25] Galatians 1:15.

[26] 1 Corinthians 15:3–9.

[27] Matthew 22:34–40:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” and Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

[28] Matthew 28:19–20.