Mark 12:28-34 The Greatest Command

Mark 1_12-13

Mark 12:28-34

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

A scribe, a teacher of the law, saw them disputing over some matters and was quite impressed with how Jesus answered that He came up with a question that He wanted some understanding. Which commandment is the most important of all?

To give a context to that question, we have to understand the rabbinic tradition had identified 613 commands in the first five books of the Bible. There were 365 negative commands and 248 positive commands. Some had light consequences; others had major ones.

It seems like the question was genuine because even the teacher of the law would want to know the answer to their tradition that was never questioned.

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Jesus’ answer was found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This was something a devout Jew would recite every morning. Jesus was saying that nothing has changed in the commands of the Lord. It was right then, and it is still true till now.

Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Notice how he mentions all in all aspects. Jesus expects nothing but our all as we devote our lives to Him.

31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

As we learn to love God with all that we have, it gets easier to love others. It is a progression of living others now the same way God loved us and how we loved God. For the scribe, it was a law to love. For God, love is what fulfills the law. This reminds me of the ongoing debate we have in our nation on what form of government should serve the people better. Unless our lawmakers decide that they will love the people more than themselves or their political ambition, all types of government might result in the same thing.

32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

To love God is to love the people God has commanded me to love. And to love others is to love God.

Lord let me love you with all of me and make this love evident in my relationships.


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