Thoughts on Mark 12:28-34
An earnest, seeking scribe, listened to Jesus’ wise words and asked Jesus the question that was on his heart. “Which commandment is the first of all?” Today some religious people’s test of piety is where one stands on certain issues, say abortion, or sexuality or even smoking. It was the same in Jesus’ day. Religious people broke into groups that favored one commandment over the others – us vs them.
On behalf of all earnest seekers throughout history the scribe asked the important question, out of all the commandments which is the primary one that contains and informs the others?
Notice Jesus’ answer. It begins with “Hear.” If you’re going to ask a question of Jesus, then you better be ready to listen to his answer. This scribe was. He asked not for the sake of argument, or to prove Jesus wrong, but because he truly wanted to hear from Jesus how to order his life.
“‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 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.’”
Contained within his answer is the picture of a united divinity, the Lord our God is one; a united fellowship, the Lord our God is one; and a united person, love God with every part of your being, your heart, soul, mind and strength.
And then Jesus gives a bonus answer, “The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
That sums it up. And the earnest scribe got it. He heard Jesus’ answer to his question, he acknowledged that what Jesus said was true and that to keep these two commandments meant more to God than any ritually performed acts of worship or service.
Jesus observed that the scribe answered wisely. This is the only time this phrase is used in the entire NT. The scribe listened well. He received Jesus words as the words of life. He was close to the Kingdom.
In such a manner is the Kingdom approached, by earnestly seeking Jesus to learn how to live, by allowing him to be Lord and his words to determine the way I live. Yes, this is my prayer. Thank you and amen