John Lennon’s song, ‘All you need is love’, was the Beatles’ contribution to the 60s anti-war movement because its simple message of love and peace could be understood by people of all nations. Released in the middle of the ‘Summer of Love’ (1967), it encapsulated the feelings of the world's youth at that time.
The sentiments are great – but what went wrong? Why are nations across the world still being torn apart by war?
The words of our verses are taken from Jesus’ answer to the question, ‘which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ He said that these two commandments summarise the whole of God’s law. That is, if we obeyed them to the letter all would be perfect. It sounds a little bit like ‘All you need is love’, doesn’t it? Yes, but there are two big differences – the direction of that love and the depth of it. Jesus said that we must first love God wholeheartedly, not sentimentally but as a decision of the will (with all your mind); then, our love for others is to be equal to our love for ourselves. A world of peace and harmony will result.
But is it possible? Not in our own strength. As flawed people, we are unable to fulfil those commands; on the contrary, as the Bible says, the natural tendency today is to love ourselves (2 Timothy 3:2).
The good news is that the One who spoke those words fulfilled them Himself. His love for God and for others led Him to die for our sins on a cross and rise again. Those who believe on Him are forgiven and given a new power to live a life of love.