September 12, 2011
A Perfect Man
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength … thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Mark 12:30, 31
One of the scribes in the audience, either out of a sincere desire to know, or in the spirit of debate, challenged the Lord Jesus. His question related to the commandments. Was there a hierarchy in them? Was there one commandment which was greatest of all?
To this inquiry, the Lord responded with words which distilled all the outward emphasis which the nation had placed on law-keeping, into an inward heart attitude. He redefined the intent of the law; or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, that He clarified what God intended in the law. Here then, in the verse above, is the standard for what God expected and desired from man. Sadly, the history of the nation and the history of the world is an eloquent testimony to the tragic impotence of humankind to even approximate it.
But there was a Man, One Man, Who fulfilled all that God ever looked for in a man. Here was a Man Who loved the Lord His God with all His heart, mind, soul, and strength. Here was the only Man Who truly loved His neighbor as Himself. In His love for God, every aspect of His being was devoted; imagine loving God with all your mind. Every thought would be God centered and poured through the filter of what it meant to God! Loving God with all your heart? Not affection that did not have God at its center. We can hardly begin to identify with a mind and heart such as this.
Loving God with all our strength? Every action, even the forming of the instruments in the carpenter’s shop of Nazareth, was done in love for His God. No action, however “menial” or secular was divorced from a heart full of love.
Here was a Man Who loved His neighbor as Himself. Elsewhere (Luke 10), He would define the concept of “neighbor.” But here He establishes the standard: He loved others ahead of Himself. His love for His God and His love for His neighbor took Him eventually to cross where in an act of supreme love, He gave Himself.
1. Look at the Burnt offering in Leviticus 1. As you look at the victims, can you link them with the four aspects of love demanded by Mark 10:30? Heart, mind, soul, strength?
2. Does the Lord’s clarification of the law help us to understand some of the ethical dilemmas we find in Scripture such as Rahab hiding the spies and deceiving the soldiers about them? About the midwives and the story they told to Pharaoh?
3. What is the significance of the Lord Jesus introducing these statements with verse 29: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord?”