Bible Study – October 27th, 2015
Passage and parallels
|Mark 12:28-34 New International Version (NIV)
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.[a] 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.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 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.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Note* While the NIV translation says “One of the teachers of the law” most translations say “scribe”.
|Matthew 22:34-40 New International Version (NIV)
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Luke 10:25-28 New International Version (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
This story appears in all the synoptic gospels as did the passage we studied last month – Mark 10:17-31. Although this story is not found in John we will see that John knows and supports the teaching!
Remember the passage we are looking at takes place during the last week in Jerusalem after Jesus had cleansed the temple and cast out the money-changers. He has been confronted by the scribes, chief priests, Pharisees, Herodians, and the Sadducees as they had tried to trap him in his words. And now he begins to speak about things of very great import to us.
Now in the answer our Lord gives to this insightful scribe’s question, you have his listing of the priorities of life:
Let’s read the passage together.
1: What is the message that you hear when you read the text?
Now let’s take a moment to compare the versions in Matthew and Luke.
2: Who is doing the asking in each version?
3: Does the motive for asking seem to be the same in all three versions?
4: How does Jesus answer in each version?
5: Does this seem to be a more positive interaction between Jesus and representatives of the Jewish establishment than some other?
6: Why is the scribe’s response important?
7: What 2 Christian principles does this teaching tie together?
8: How is this important in our own lives?
9: How does this compare to the story from last month? Does this teaching seem to contradict what Jesus told the rich young ruler?
10: Is this an easier lesson to understand than the one from last month?
11: How might the scribes reaction apply to us, or at least cause us to think?
12: How might this teaching help us in our walk with God – in understanding the Bible in general?
Here is Jim’s “teaser” for the upcoming sermon. Have we answered these questions?
(1) What do you think the most important teaching of Jesus is? Or, put another way, which of his teachings ACTUALLY (not just theoretically) impacts your daily life the most?
(2) How do you demonstrate your love for God? Is it seen in what you say, what you do, or what you think?
(3) Four modes of loving God are suggested – which one(s), heart, soul, mind and strength help you express that love the best?
(4) What evidence do you see, hear or feel that you are closer to or further from God?
People still try to play with the Word of God. They love to argue about the Bible. They love to devise riddles and puzzles based on the Bible. They try to figure out what they can and can’t get away with according to the Bible. People are always looking for a loophole. In these verses, Jesus is going to tell us how to honor the whole Law.
The idea presented here is that we are to love God with the entirety of our beings. The Lord has given us perfect, complete love. He loves us with all He has. We are to love Him the same way.
When the Lord possesses a person, He also possesses all that person has. We are to use every fiber and molecule of our being for His glory. This is what it means to love Him!
The Jews quoted the Shema twice a day. They thought they were expressing their love for the Lord. For most of them it was merely an empty ritual. Much like church is for many people.
The person who truly loves the Lord is the person who fully trusts God and obeys the Lord in every area of his or her life. It is the idea of total commitment and total surrender. This is genuine love for the Lord. Do you have it?)
- This is the first commandment – Loving the Lord like we should is the primary commandment of the Law. If we can keep this commandment, we will have no problem with the rest!
- And the second is like – The second commandment builds on the first. The scribe had not asked about anything beyond the first commandment. Jesus goes a step farther to teach us the truth that genuine love for God also manifests itself in perfect love for one’s fellow man.
- Thou shalt love – Here is that word “agape” again. I am to love others with the same kind of love with which God has loved me. I am to love them unconditionally, perfectly, eternally and with purity.
- Thy neighbor – Who is my “neighbor”? Jesus answered this question in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37. My neighbor is not just the person who is my friend. He is not just the person who looks like me or who runs in my circles. According to Jesus, my neighbor is anyone who wears a suit of skin.
- As thyself – Everyone in this room loves themselves! When self is hungry we find it something to eat. When self is thirsty, we find it something to drink. When self gets sick, we get self some medical treatment. In other words, we always seek to meet the needs that pertain to self.
We are to love those around us with the same kind of love. This does not mean that we love them with a mere sentimental or emotional love. No, we are to love them with a love that actively seeks their good. We are to do more than talk about love, we are to demonstrate genuine love to those who live around us.
1 John 3:17-18New International Version (NIV)
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.