Pondering the Passages: Mark 12: 28-34

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

So I want to make note of a few things about Jesus’ answer  to the question he was asked. The first part of his answer is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. But I want you to see His answer in the context of what comes before and what comes answer. So here is Deuteronomy 6: 1-8: 1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.  4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Note what comes before His quote (in Deuteronomy): God does not give us laws and rules just because he wants to keep us under his thumb. He gives them to us for two reasons: to provide for us and to protect us. His promise here is that the keeping of His commandments will mean that 1) it will go well with us and 2) we will increase greatly. Two pretty studly reasons to obey.

Note what comes after His quote: In Mark Jesus adds an addendum to “Love the Lord…: He also says that we are to “Love our neighbor…”. Seems to me that Jesus is saying if we love God then it is going to translate into love for people. In other words, we can’t get away with with just saying that we love God. We have to back it up by showing love for God by loving people. He ups the ante – as he often does. Its easy to say you love God. Its a whole lot harder to demonstrate love for people.

Note what comes in the middle of His quote: Jesus slips in a few words that are not found in the OT passage. “With all your mind.”  How do you love God with all your mind? Here are a couple of thoughts: 1) You don’t pollute your mind with trash that is offensive to God. 2) You exercise your intellect to defend the gospel and to teach and train believers with God’s Word. 3) You THINK! – you don’t put your mind on cruise control. You use it to filter out the lies that the world throws at you and you use it absorb truth. The mind is the gateway to the heart. (See Romans 12:2)

Note what doesn’t come after His quote: I find it interesting that when Jesus was asked this question that he answered it very succinctly. Here was a man who was interested in discussing spiritual things with him and Jesus didn’t preach at him or go into a long monologue discussing great commandments in the Scriptures or even whip out a tract and tell him how to get saved. He simply answered simply. He let the seeker drive the conversation at the pace that he was comfortable with. Hmmm – seems like a good lesson.

I”m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Next Week’s Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 9:24

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