Most people have heard these two, the greatest commandments, Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself. But here, Jesus makes two important points: First, he says that all the law and the prophets hang on these two, or as the scribe responded back to Jesus, that keeping “(these two commandments) is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifice” because the sacrifice is only needed after an offence is committed. Second, he clarifies for the Jews, and for all of us, that everyone is your neighbor. There are truly all God’s creatures and all of humanity is to be loved as we love ourselves. By this parable Jesus says to us, we are all in this group together, we are all neighbors one of another.
The Greatest Commandment
You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of God
The greatest commandment is to love God in Mark 12:30. Jesus and the scribe agreed this was so. And, in Mark 12:31 the second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. And again they agreed. Then in Mark 12:33 the scribe added something, “(these two commandments) is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifice”. At this, in Mark 12:34, Jesus answered this by saying, “you are not far from the kingdom of God”. This scribe understood that is was far better to love first and avoid offense altogether rather than committing an offense and offering a sacrifice to atone for your wrong. Here though, “He needed only the experience of another eminent scribe who at a later period said, “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin”: who exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?” but who added, “I thank God through Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7:14, 24, 25)”.1
Which Commandment is Greatest
In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus responds with Love God and love your neighbor as yourself which is what we expect to see, and it agrees with the other gospel records. Then Matthew adds this comment, in
Matthew 22:40 (LEB) On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
With these two, love God and love your neighbor, why is there any need for
Exodus 20:13 (LEB) “You shall not murder.”
because, “when anyone loves in the way Jesus says, there is no need for a host of hair-splitting definitions of when an obligation has been discharged and when it has not”.2
Do This and You Will Live
This account is very straightforward as we find in Matthew but with one additional comment, in Luke 10:28 “Do this and you will live”. God will judge according to our deeds. The problem is, as Romans 3:9-20 says, none are righteous or can be made righteous under the law. In the end, we can’t do it and live. We can only accept the gift, the atonement, the blood of Jesus Christ given for us.
And Who is My Neighbor?
People often feel the need to justify themselves, to prove they are right, and this legal expert that was talking with Jesus felt the pressure of pride. So, in Luke 10:29 “wanting to justify himself”. Jesus had just given a very clear and simple answer that anyone could understand, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. But this legal expert asks “who is my neighbor” or he might have asked, “how do I know if someone is my neighbor?” or he might have asked it this way, “you don’t really mean that everyone is my neighbor do you?”. You can almost hear the wheels turning in his mind, wondering, do I need to love the Samaritans (who the Jews have nothing to do with)? He can’t mean that we should love the Gentiles those pagan barbarian people. What we find here, is some confusion brought about by the religious concept, the definition of the day of neighbor, and “There were different ideas among the Jews on this point, but they all seem to be confined to the nation Israel; the idea of love towards mankind had not reached them.2 As we approach the parable we must bear in mind that it is told to the lawyer in answer to the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ not, ‘What must I do to be saved?’”3
Religious Leaders Cannot Answer
David Himself Said by the Holy Spirit
Mark 12:37 (LEB) David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ and how is he his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him gladly.
What Do You Think About the Christ?
Jesus asked a question in Matthew 22:42 “Whose son is he?” They said to him, “David’s.”. And, they were correct, Jesus, the Christ was born through the natural family line that included David. But it isn’t the DNA of David that mattered. It isn’t the bloodline to David that makes Jesus the Christ because if that is all there is, why would David call him Lord?
Jesus is presenting the Christ as Lord, not just as another on the throne of David, but as Lord at the right hand of the Father, “Really what Jesus was saying here was, ‘You think of the coming Messiah as Son of David; so he is; but he is far more. He is Lord.’ He was telling people that they must revise their ideas of what Son of David meant”.4
- Mark 12:28–34 You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of God
- Matthew 22:34–40 Which Commandment is Greatest
- Luke 10:29–37 And Who is My Neighbor?
- Matthew 22:34-46
- Mark 12:28-49
- Luke 10:25-37
- Luke 20:41-44
The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – The Gospels
This series follows the order of readings from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much different context and helps us understand the move of God as He is introducing the Saviour, the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. This series begins with Return To Me And I Will Return To You at the end of Malachi and introduces the “Witnesses” writing the Gospels.
is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 85). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 2. Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 564). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
- 3. Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 3, p. 207). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- 4. Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of Luke (p. 299). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.