One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 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.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 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 himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
Mark 12:28-34 (NASB)
In the context of the surrounding passages, this section of Mark is interesting because it is the only question to which Jesus responds favorably. In the section of scripture that is the setting for this passage, Jesus is being repeatedly tested by groups hostile to him and his message. Yet in the midst of the word games and the power plays, one emerges with a legitimate question and a thoughtful and sincere response. I imagine that the Father must have placed these little gems in ths path of His Son for encouragement. What is more, the wisdom that is expressed in both the question and the answer are tremendous for the entire Law and Prophets are summed up here. How sad that most of those listening did not hear.
We would do well to remember that God is not opposed to our questions and even welcomes those that come from a sincere heart. God never rebuffs the question or the questioner who earnestly seek Him. We all too often take questions as an absence of faith where Jesus calls them intelligent and praises the man. I also think that we cannot hear the message of this passage too often. Living life is really about two things: loving God and loving others. The first makes the second possible and the second is evidence of the truth of the first.
Lord God, help me to ask good questions – questions that will lead me to the core issues and answers in life. Help me ask with a heart yearning for more of You and a desire to connect in relationship with you. Help me to ask intelligent questions and to seek you with my mind and all the dimensions of being human. Help me to be one that lightens the load of others, not one who makes burdens heavy. Let me love You as completely as I can and in the process be filled up to overflowing to pour that love into the lives of others.