Jesus showed that the most important thing we could do is love. The Bible says, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."1 One time some experts in religious law got together to question Him. "One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'
"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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."2
Jesus was also merciful. One time the religious teachers brought in a woman caught in adultery. "They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?' They were using this as a trap for Him.
"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
"At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'
"'No one, sir,' she said.
"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"3
Jesus was both righteous and loving. He called people to righteousness and confronted sin. Yet at the same time He was merciful and compassionate to those who came to Him for forgiveness. His heart ached even for those who would not come to God. In speaking of the city of Jerusalem, He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"4
His love had no boundaries. Jesus traveled around Israel, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting those who were sad. It did not make any difference whether people were rich or poor. He extended the love of God to all those who came to Him.