Monday, February 27, 2017

Seeking The Truth

Mark 12:28-34

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12:28)

Many times television interviewers deliberately asked questions that it impossible to answer honestly exactly as asked in a deliberate effort to trip up and discredit a person who holds a political or moral viewpoint they oppose, and both the Pharisees and the Sadducees has attempted to do the same thing to Jesus.  Realizing Jesus had answered their questions while avoiding their traps, the scribe asked Jesus and honest question.  About which of the commandments they should give the most priority. 

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Nowhere in the Old Testament does the scripture say exactly what Jesus described as the first commandment.  The Ten Commandments , in Exodus 20:2-6 start with, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”  Jesus paraphrased the entire passage.  He also paraphrased the second commandment.   He said there was no greater commandment than those.

“And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:32-33)

The scribe thought about what Jesus had said, that essentially all the law, even including the laws about the sacrifices was about demonstrating our love for God by obeying his commands.  The commands about not stealing, or committing adultery, etc., were about demonstrating our love for other people by avoiding things that would hurt them.  They were also about demonstrating our love for God by obeying his commands about how we were to treat others.  Jesus had summarized the entire law with those two commands. 

“And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.” (Mark 12:34)

Because he was seeking the truth, and willing to listen honestly to what Jesus said, and think about it seriously, there was a far greater likelihood of this scribes understanding the truth and being saved than there was for those who were only interested in convincing people Jesus was wrong.   People who set out to prove a certain point or position tend to downplay or ignore information that does not support their position, without regard for whether it is true or not.  They are not interested in the truth.  


  1. Thanks, Donald, for the great post. We can get hung up in the complexity of the law, but it all boils down to love God and love one another. May we do this and live worthy of the vocation to which we are called, until He comes again. God bless.