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Thursday, June 3
Which is the first of all the commandments? (Mark 12:28)
Scholars tell us that the Law of Moses contains 613 commandments. So it’s no wonder that the scribe in to day’s Gospel would ask Jesus which command was the most important. Unlike the others who had sparred with Jesus that day, this man doesn’t seem to want to trick Jesus or to be looking for a way to avoid some of God’s commands. He seems devout and faithful, someone sincerely seeking to understand how best to honor God.
Jesus answers by quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (6:4-5; Mark 12:30). When He says that it’s the “first” command, He is saying that it contains all the other commandments. It doesn’t eliminate them; rather, it’s the source for them. The command to love the Lord with all that we are governs every situation and every choice. Everything we do flows from this.
Then Jesus gives a second command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31). He reminds us that loving God is inseparable from loving our neighbor; without it, our love for God is incomplete. We concretely express our love for God by loving our neighbor. Like the first, this command is not narrow. It encompasses every relationship – with the people we love and with the ones we find difficult.
Hearing these words, the scribe could have wondered, “How could anyone love so completely?” He could have even felt tempted to walk away. But he didn’t. He saw that Jesus was expressing the heart of the Law: love of God and neighbor together constitute true worship, true obedience. He saw that this pleases God more than anything else. You can imagine his heart burning as Jesus told him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:33).
You are not far from the kingdom of God either. Jesus is close to you. He has all the grace you need to love God and your neighbor. He blesses even your faltering attempts to love. So how will you love the ‘Jesus” you meet today?
”Jesus, help me to love my neighbor as an expression of my love for You.”
Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9
Psalm 128: 1-5
Daily Reflections from “The Word Among Us”
Recorded music remains the property of the Artists/Writers.
No ownership is implied
Let the Fire Fall – Carmen
It Is Well with My Soul – Gaither Gospel Group
Every Praise – Hezekiah Walker