40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Three: Thursday)

Thursday

Confession: Psalm 38:21–22

Do not forsake me, O Yahweh.

O my God, do not be far from me.

Hurry to help me,

O Lord, my salvation.

Reading: Mark 12:28–37

And one of the scribes came up and heard them debating. When he saw that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “That is true, Teacher. You have said correctly that he is one and there is no other except him. And to love him from your whole heart and from your whole understanding and from your whole strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And Jesus, when he saw that he had answered thoughtfully, said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to put a question to him any longer.

And continuing, Jesus said while teaching in the temple courts, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is David’s son? David himself said by the Holy Spirit,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

until I put your enemies

under your feet.” ’

David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ and how is he his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him gladly.

Reflection

Love for God is the first and greatest commandment and the next is love towards our neighbor. The Lord taught that the entire law and the prophets hang upon these two commandments. He did not Himself bring down [from heaven] any other commandment greater than this one, but renewed this very same one to His disciples when He enjoined them to love God with all their heart and others as themselves.

Paul, in like manner, declares that “love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13:10 nrsv) And [he declares] that when all other things have been destroyed, “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13 nrsv). Apart from the love of God, knowledge avails nothing—nor the understanding of mysteries, nor faith, nor prophecy.… For we do never cease from loving God; but in proportion as we continue to contemplate Him, so much the more do we love Him.

—Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus Against Heresies

Response

In Mark 12:28–37, Jesus references two commandments given to the Israelites immediately following the Ten Commandments of Deuteronomy 5. How does the commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart sum up the other Ten Commandments? Does your life demonstrate this love?[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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