In Mark we see the normal bashing of “the teachers of the law”, but then we also see one teacher of the law that understood what Jesus was saying to be true. While the others dismissed Jesus, usually out of jealousy and selfish desire to keep the status quo, this man cared about what was really true, and he found Jesus’s teachings to be consistent with Scripture. While the others were trying to trap Jesus, this man really wanted to learn. I like his question.
28 One 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.[e] 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.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] 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.”
I wonder if this man was around in Matthew 9 when Jesus told the crowd to go learn what it meant that God desired mercy not sacrifice (from Hosea 6:6). Or in Matthew 12 when Jesus pointed out that they had not yet learned this (they must not have done their homework.)
In any case, this man asked a really good question, and thanks to him we are reminded about what is the most important.
Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor.
Like the song says, “It’s all about love.”
If I’m ever wondering about the best thing to do, I need to remember that it’s all about love. If I’m not showing love, I’m probably not doing it right. It’s a good test, really, because I can get so caught up in such complicated things, and they can knock me off course, distract me, and cause me to mis-understand what God wants.
So I need constant reminders: It’s all about love.