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#189 How Far are You?

The Pharisees aren’t giving up. They believe Jesus emphasizes the last six commandments, disregarding the first four. They urge a noted lawyer to question Jesus.

Warily, he finally agrees to go with them, and arrives in time to hear the discussion Jesus is having with the Sadducees. He is impressed with what he hears and spontaneously says, “Well said, Master,” recognizing Jesus mastery of the law. Surprised with his knowledge of scripture, he now wants to ask his question, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?”

Jesus, pities him, knowing he will pay for his compliment, but appreciating his honesty and boldness in front of the people and the Pharisees.

Jesus’ answer honors and mirrors the lawyers openness and candor, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” (He’s quoting Moses–but adding a dimension!)* “And the second is similar, You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets.”

The scholar, who understands symbolism, and Jewish disregard for it, is drawn to Jesus’ depth of understanding, and commends his answer, “You have spoken well, Teacher, for there is one God, and to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself, is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Jesus sees the scowling Pharisees, and responds, “You are very close to God’s kingdom.”

After that dual endorsement no one dared ask any more questions.

Matthew 22:34-40,  Mark 12:28-34  *Deuteronomy 6:5



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