Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbour. That’s what Jesus said is most important. I know that when I surrender to love and stop trying to tick boxes or follow ritual, I get closer to God and God’s intent for me. How about you?
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. 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.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 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.”
Notice the difference between trying to trick Jesus and testing Jesus to prove him? There is a difference. We have two stories in Mark 12 in which leaders come to Jesus to try to trick him in his teaching. Their goal was to trip him up. Then a teacher of the law who heard Jesus give a good answer regarding marriage and the resurrection from the dead asked his own question.
Let’s skip to the end. Jesus likes his question, he likes his style, and he likes the man’s answer. “You are not far from the kingdom of God,” Jesus said. That’s what we want to hear. That we are growing closer and closer to the truth and revelation of God to humanity.
The man’s question was probably one which many, many people over the centuries before Jesus’ incarnation had asked each other. They would have asked their Rabbi’s. People would have discussed this with their friends and family. What is most important?
We have these conversations today. What does God want from us and for us? What does he say? What does he mean?
Jesus quoted the Hebrew Shema from Deuteronomy 6. This was one of the most important and oft-quoted scriptures in the practice of their faith. No one would have been surprised to hear it. “Love the Lord your God.” He added, “Love your neighbour” as the second most important.
The teacher answered Jesus by contrasting these two commands with the sacrifices made for sin and to worship God. Loving God and neighbour with intent and action (heart, soul, mind, and strength) is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. True dat, Jesus said. There is no comparison.
Are you a lover or a fighter? We can fight to be good and to appease and to recover when we slip. Or we can love. Freely. Fully. I know that when I surrender to love and stop trying to tick boxes or follow ritual, I get closer to God and God’s intent for me.
How about you?