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Which Commandment is First of All?

“Which Commandment is First of All?”

Hello Gloria Dei,

Thanks for walking through the gospel of Mark during these months leading up to Easter. As you know, we are reading and preaching our way through this fast-paced account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. This weekend our focus remains within chapter 12. Please read 12:28-44.

Leading up to these verses, the relationship between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day is becoming increasingly contentious. They have asked him questions, trying to trick him into saying something that might get him arrested.

In these verses, however, a scribe asks Jesus a question which seems to be sincere. “Which commandment is first of all?”, he asks. Jesus responds by saying, “Love God with everything you’ve got. And a second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What I find interesting is that Jesus is on his way to the cross. These verses take place during the last week of Jesus’ life. He has already made his final entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. Jesus knows he will soon be arrested and killed. In essence, Jesus is fulfilling these two great commandments. He is loving God with all he’s got. And by dying on the cross, he is loving his neighbor, giving himself out of selfless love, for the sake of the world.

The questioning scribe responds to Jesus positively. And Jesus commends him saying, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

I think this bible text invites us to see ourselves in this passage. How will we respond to Jesus’ selfless love, given to us? Does our worldview change, knowing that Jesus has given his all to us? Do we respond positively to Jesus, like the scribe, when Jesus says to us, “Love God and Love Others with all you’ve got”?

In Jesus, there is a new way of being in this world; a new Kingdom, if you will. You and I are set free from sin and death, and now given a purpose: to love with all we’ve got. Thank God today that Jesus, by his life, death, and resurrection, has made you a citizen of this new Kingdom. Now go on your way this day, free to love God and others with all you’ve got.

See you in worship,

Pastor Tim

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