Journal Mk 12 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that (Jesus) answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
And the second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Observation: The scribe mentioned here is astute; he has a legitimate clarifying question for Jesus, perhaps to see if Jesus is a crazy, heretical dude. The scribe finds out Jesus is as orthodox (and more) in his theology as they come…
Makes sense because Jesus is the living Word…
Analysis: Reading the rest of the passage, most folks eventually focus on how Jesus said that the scribe was “…not far from the kingdom of God…” (v34) and perhaps looked longingly after him. The scribe was just on the cusp of understanding: Obeying the 2 commanding directives “is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices…”
I think what I am reading here is another aspect of the Gospel.
The Cross was instituted to do away with (once and for all) the Sacrificial System with Jesus being the Lamb sacrificed—no more lambs, goats, bulls, birds, etc. for the various sins of Israel, but God himself (the Son) giving himself willingly so that folks like you and me can approach the Throne where God sits without fear BECAUSE we can trust in the Blood of Jesus and not creatures like bulls.
An effect of the Gospel is that my heart is changed; I am more inclined to love God with all my soul (head), heart, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. That is what the Born Again function is supposed to enact; also the Adoption as a Son function—I want to be like my Father and my Savior, the Son.
Like the scribe, how far am I from the Kingdom of God? If my first reaction is, “I am being asked to doubt my salvation…” or something along those lines, I must consider that I might be further away than I thought. (Look at the qualifying words: Consider and Might)
That is why I came up with that little device, “Man or Face in the Mirror” as a check on my subjective reality. If I am saved, how does my life show it? How does my life with my family, home, wife and children show it? Am I easily tempted into foul language? Anger? Short temper? Even if I do not have a disciplined approach now, do I recognize that I need to learn about my Savior? His instructions? His intent for me?
If I am His, and I confess that for my life, am I sold out for Christ? Do I love the Lord my God with all my soul/mind, heart and strength and am I sold out to love my neighbor as myself?
These are the questions that should daily consume a person, preaching the Gospel to the face in the mirror…
Prayer: Lord, how important is this story to the Gospel? I am so grateful that you salt these away in your Word so that they can be found, thought about, and pondered upon.
Ricky Two Shoes