No one knows the age of the human race, but it is surely old enough to know how to love better.
INTRO - Last week we discussed the resurrection and how great a hope we have because Jesus is alive!
In our message today we will sit in as Jesus holds a conversation with a fellow well-educated Jewish man.
The man is going to enter into discussion with Jesus about a topic that was one of common conversation for Hebrew men of the first century.
TRANS - Before we can get into the story today, we need to set some ground rules. For one, forget what you know; try to hear this passage just as Jesus is teaching it to you directly. That means, we must try to understand it like someone living in first century Palestine.
We are talking about the Law today.
HUM - Perhaps this brings to mind some ideas about law. For example:
Self- deception is the first law of human nature.
Or, ignorance of the law does not prevent a loosing lawyer from collecting his bill.
Yet, among the most common are stories about mothers-in-law like:
Have I got a mother-in-law. She’s so neat she puts paper under the cuckoo clock.
Or, Adam was the luckiest man: He had not mother-in-law.
Today, we are shifting to consider the Law laid out for us by God.
There were those who specialized in the study of that Law and we will begin with them.
Who were the scribes in Jesus’ day?
Scribes spent much time in undistracted study.
The synagogue service originated with them.
There function was threefold:
They preserved the law.
They instructed others in the law.
They were the administrators of the law in the Sanhedrin.
Many were part of the Pharisees, who were more in touch with the average people than the Scribes, but they were considered a separate group.
BAK - Like this scribe, not everyone was bad nor was everything they did wrong.
Following the fall of Jerusalem, the scribes preserved the written Scriptures which benefits everyone today.
ILL - The scribes were serious about the Law. It reminds me of the police officer that pulled me over just down the street from the church several years back. When I pulled didn’t see any cars for miles and rolled through a traffic control device, I broke the law. While there were no cars anywhere insight, there was a sheriff deputy in my rear view mirror. He obviously took his work seriously, like a scribe, and let me know exactly what law I broke. He added to that, “I can’t believe you did that right in front of me!”
Laws are there to protect people. Today, I make it habit to follow laws, like road signs, because I don’t want to develop bad habits. And I’ll add, I don’t want anymore tickets either.
How does Jesus’ encounter with this scribe differ from previous encounters in Mark’s Gospel?
Up until this point, any mention of the Scribes was negative.
Here, a scribe comes to Jesus asking him a question.
The Torah contained 248 positive and 365 negative commands.
So, it was not like the Scribe was attempting to put Jesus in a place where he couldn’t escape; it was natural for folks to consider if some commandments were more important compared to others.
This scribe is simply asking Jesus to discuss something that many educated folks of the time considered to be interesting discussion.
It is important to understand that the Scribe was not asking, “which are unimportant,” but, “which is fundamental;” Is there one from which others arise or might require to come first?
In his answer, just as Jesus had demonstrated similar thinking once before when he spoke of “least of these commandments” Jesus answered the fellow.
HUM - Truth can be a funny thing. You should be aware of a half-truth—you may get the wrong half.
With Jesus, we don’t have to worry because he is the truth!
Here, Jesus clearly demonstrated a high view and depth of understanding of the Law.
Truth is key to understanding just as honesty with self is key to self-improvement.
Here we see Jesus’ teaching of the truth in the Law as a means to understanding his love for the truth.
Jesus quoted from Deut 6:4–5 to answer the scribe. What cultural significance did this passage have?
Jesus’ answer is much more than a distinction between small and great commandments.
Jesus’ use of the Shema’:
His use of that text was a well-placed teaching.
The words command the love for God as an obligation of the Hebrew people for his favor toward them.
Does Jesus suggest a connection between loving God and loving others?
The teacher of the law asked one question and Jesus answered two.
In Leviticus 19:18 a neighbor is noted as a fellow Jew.
The Jew’s of Jesus’ time interpreted the passage much more narrowly than the OT for the OT included resident aliens.
The Jews of Jesus’ time include only Jews and fully converted Jews.
Jesus redefines this to say, “anyone with whom you have any dealings at all.”
ILL - A young man named Matthew attended this church. One particular Easter season he walked these streets near our church, and taking a fellow David with him, passed out 2 1/2 buckets of “event invitation eggs.”
Passing out eggs took them the entire afternoon. He’d come back time to time, covered in sweat, and ask for more eggs to pass out in the neighborhood.
In the days that followed, Matthew brought around his sister, some friends, and a Catholic boy he met so they could all see our baptismal.
You see, Matthew understands that when you love the Lord, the Lord will use you to reach people in his name.
think like Christ
love like Christ
believe like Christ
walk like Christ
you will serve like Christ
That’s loving the Lord LOUDLY
What insights do you gain from comparing different Bible translations on their rendering of the scribe’s approval of Jesus’ answer?
First of all, the scribes reply is much more than, “good answer.”
Translations very: “Well said, good answer, & right” are among some of the more common ways to translate this passage to English.
For clarification, it’s closer to meaning, “right on target, excellent, or beautiful!”
While there were words to say “good answer,” the Greek used was a word of greater exclamation.
The original text didn’t use exclamation marks like we might, but with word choice, the exclamation is throughly expressed.
What does Jesus mean that the scribe is “not far” from the kingdom of God?
And, Jesus recognizes the Scribes understanding encouraging him that he is close to the kingdom.
While other Scribes were splitting hairs over trivial matters thinking observance of all sorts of things paved their way, this scribe has true understanding.
God’s love for sinners, their love for him, and their love for others is what makes us God’s image bearers.
If only one more step, this scribe will believe Jesus is his Savior!
Jesus is urging him, come enter the kingdom.
ILL - Until a few years ago, there were no laws about child safety seats and automobile restraint systems. Many young children who were not safely belted in their seats died in car accidents.
Today laws prohibit children from riding in a car without special seating facing the right direction and properly installed. New mothers must have the seat in place before taking a child home from the hospital.
A parent’s love for a child is beautiful. Yet when a child’s safety is at stake, it seems a parent’s love is not always enough. Many parents needed a seat belt law to ensure the safety of their children.
The same is true of our love and devotion for God and other people. Feelings are not enough. We needed laws and boundaries in the form of commands to help us love God and others.
It’s tempting to love God by area, our hearts, our souls, our minds, or our strength.
Yet, God wants all of our love all of the time.
Can you say you are willing to love God that way, with all you are, and all the time
If you start to love God that way today, how will your life change?
ACTION - I’m challenging each of you today.
If you are willing to love God with your “everything” I want you to come forward as a demonstration of your willingness to commit completely to the Lord.