#DailyDevotion Jesus Gives Us Two Commandments. That’s Enough.
Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that [Jesus] answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 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.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 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.
So as usual, the scribes and Pharisees were arguing with Jesus. Jesus as usual were answering them all well, in other words shooting them down pretty decently and putting them in their place. Well another of the scribes saw this and decided to chime in. He asks Jesus which is the most important commandment. Now if you or I would answer that perhaps we may run to the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods.”
But no, Jesus goes to the Shema, the “Hear O Israel” for the most important commandment. YHWY is our God, YHWH is one. Loving the Lord, YHWH with our your heart, soul, mind and strength. Indeed the Lord demands our all. Jesus said as much many other time in reference to himself, Luk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” This will be important in verse 35 of Mark 12. So there is no other God and God is one. As the Lord is wholly devoted to his people, his people are to be wholly devoted to him. He is to be the greatest object of our devotion.
And then Jesus answers and the second one is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Now how is this command like the first one. You cannot see God, the Lord. But he made man in his own image and likeness. To love your neighbor is to love God. To hate your neighbor is to hate God. As John writes 1Jn 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” And again, 1Jn 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” So we have been called to worship (serve) God by worshipping (serving) our neighbor in love. If you love the Lord your God will all your hearts, soul, mind and strength, you will expressing that in service to the person God has placed in your path. So John in his epistle then summarizes this exchange with the scribe with this then, 1Jn 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” For in Christ there are no more sacrifice, just faith in him and love for one another.
Heavenly Father, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may keep the two commandments you have given us in Jesus to trust in Jesus and to love one another as he has loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.