Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Greatest Commandment! - September 3rd, 2011

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”   
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”   
So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”   
Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him.
Mark 12:28-34

History and Context:
The Gospel of Mark was written between 60 and 70 AD by John Mark, a companion of Peter and of Paul. Tradition has him writing the Gospel when he is in Rome with Peter, putting down the apostle Peter's version of the story. John Mark is shown in Acts as a companion of Paul and Barnabas; he is also mentioned in Colossians as being a real comfort to Paul in prison and in 1 Peter as being like a son to Peter. The Gospel seems to be a starting point for both Matthew and for Luke as much of the material is similar, but Mark focuses less on the teachings of Jesus and more on the actions. It shows Christ in action.
The Text:
The pharisees and the scribes were always attempting to test Jesus with questions, trying to get Him to say something wrong. Here is one occasion in which a scribe comes to Jesus with a difficult question; "What is the greatest commandment?" When you look at all the commandments in the Old Testament, and consider that all of them are from God, therefore all of them must be important, you would think that it would be very difficult to pick one out. Jesus does it without hesitation. The first commandment he quotes from the Hebrew Shema, a very important passage of scripture for the Jews. Basically it is that we should love God with everything in us. The second commandment, He says, is like the first one. In other words they are connected. In 1 John we further see that these two are connected, you can't truly have one without the other. The second commandment is to love others just like you love yourself. When the scribe agreed with Jesus, He said "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." In other words it is these two commandments, together, which bring us into God's kingdom. If we can simply learn to love God and to love people, that is all we need.
The Challenge:
Step out in love towards God today. Spend some time in worship marvelling at how good He is. Then go out and seek out a way to love someone else. It can either be someone you know or a stranger, but show love to someone. Love is not complete without action. To simply say that I love you isnot enough if I never do something to show you that love. Find someone and show them love today.
The Prayer:
Lord, increase my love for you and for those around me. Help me to act out in that love. Give me wisdom to see the opportunities that present themselves for me to act in love. I do love you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!

No comments:

Post a Comment