Mark 12.28-34

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God 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.’ “

And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and that there is no other but he, and to love him with all the heart, and all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.

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6 responses

  1. For me this is the center of the Bible. If that’s all we had, it would be enough, granted that we had a good grasp of love and of God.Jesus redefined that concept of God which the Hebrews had groaned under for centuries.This verse appears several tiimes in the N.T.– in the gospels and in letters. And of course it’s a quotation (or a couple of quotations from the O.T., unfortunately buried under a sin numero of verbiage about everything else under the sun.

  2. Well, no, this concept was implicit in much of what the Hebrews wrote, seldom explicit because they tended to assume it.The verbiage was a weird combination of 1) working out the implications of this concept while 2) striving to shore up local tribal mores and 3) deforming Judaism into a state religion.A civilization which has groaned under a harsh misconception of Jesus for centuries should probably not cast the first aspersion…

  3. Sorry, Forrest, but I don’t grasp the implications of your comment. To what civilization are you referring? I don’t see how a civilization can cast an aspersion.

  4. Christian civilization has generally held the assumption that the Jews (pre-Jesus) just didn’t “get it.”My assumption is that the same God who had all this trouble being intelligible to the Jews is having the same trouble being intelligible to us.As you’ve said, Jesus made the essence as clear and explicit as anyone could–but it seems to have been too “simple” for us to see it without making a lot of heuristic mistakes first!!!

  5. I would certainly agree with all that, ole buddy.

  6. Most of the time the synoptics presents Jesus’ arguments over Torah with the scribes as them trying to “test him” — catch him out to discount or condemn him.Here this seems a genuine dialogue regarding the appropriate interpretation of the traditions. We are reminded Jesus is a Jew and his spirituality and approach to law and tradition is rooted in the life and practices of Judaism.

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