Mark 12:32-34 (The Greatest Commandment 4: The Scribe Responds Intelligently)

Recall that after Jesus had answered the Sadducees’ question about marriage and the resurrection one of the scribes from among the Pharisees asked Him what commandment was foremost in the law, to which Jesus answered to love God with all one’s heart and soul and strength and to love one’s neighbor as himself.  What does Mark say was the scribe’s response to Jesus’ answer to his question?  See Mar 12:32-33.  What did the scribe mean that there is no one else besides Him?  See Deut 4:35.  What is the significance in the context that God is One and there is no other?  Think: is there anyone else to whom our allegiance might possibly belong instead?  Is He fickle, so that He may demand something at one time or from one person and something else another time or from another person?  Cf. Heb 13:8, Jam 1:17.  I.e., are His commandments haphazard with no rhyme or reason except His own capricious will, or do they all derive from a single foundational principle that is the expression of His very nature?  What is that principle, and what does it teach us about the most foundational aspect of God’s nature?  Cf. 1Jo 4:8,16.  In what way is the pursuit of modern science to discover the predictable laws of the universe dependent upon the unchangeableness of God’s loving nature, and what is the irony that many today are seeking to use the science that is possible because of God’s nature to deny He exists?

What did the scribe say that the two great laws Jesus gave were more than?  See Mar 12:33.  Are they just a little bit more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices?  See again Mar 12:33.  What was spoken throughout the Law and the Prophets as being much more than offerings and sacrifices, and what do these things illustrate about what is foremost in God’s mind about what it means to love Him with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves?  See 1Sa 15:22, Psa 40:6-8, 50:12-15,22-23, Pro 21:3, Isa 1:11-17, 58:5-7, Hos 6:6, Mic 6:6-8; cf. Mat 9:13, 12:7, 23:23.  Are we to suppose this to mean that the burnt offerings and sacrifices under the Old Covenant, and their counterpart under the New Covenant of Christ’s sacrifice and our own sacrificial worship of offering ourselves as living sacrifices, are really unnecessary?  Or are we to understand that with such sacrifices God is well-pleased, but only when offered from the sincerity of a pure heart rooted in the love that is the weightier provision of the law, but not otherwise when offered as mere ritual?  See Gen 4:4, 8:20-21a, Psa 51:16-19.  What is the counterpart today of such religious ritual and supposed sacrifice that many engage in but that can become as devoid of true religion as the burnt offerings and sacrifices of the Jews?

How did Jesus view the scribe’s answer?  See Mar 12:34a.  Note: NAS intelligently = KJV discreetly = NIV wisely = literally mindfully or with thought; should we suppose then that since God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1Co 1:27) that it is necessarily a bad thing to use our minds to understand the things of God?  See again Mat 22:37.  What did Jesus then say to the scribe for his thoughtful response?  See Mar 12:34b.  How did Jesus’ response to this man contrast with that to the scribes and Pharisees in general?  See Mat 23:1-3,13-16, etc…, Mat 23:33.  Does being not far from the kingdom of God mean that one has entered the kingdom of God?  Is it knowing the will of the Father or even acknowledging Christ as Lord that enables one to enter the kingdom?  See Mat 7:21-23.  Are we able in our own flesh to do the will of the Father?  How then can we be saved?  See Rom 7:24-25a, Joh 3:3-7, 12:24, Rom 6:3-7; cf. Mat 16:24-25.

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