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Mark’s first-century biography – page 37

And one of the scribes, coming near, hearing them disputing together, and seeing that he answered them correctly, questioned him (Jesus of Nazareth, c. AD 30, Jerusalem), “Which commandment is first of all?” 

Within days Jesus will be crucified by the Jerusalem authorities and intelligentsia. Various groups within those ruling classes have questioned him and he has responded. The questioners seem to be unchanged. 

But this “scribe” (the Greek word is grammateon indicating an educated person) listening to it all, is persuaded that the answers have been correct. He really wants to have an answer to his burning question.
Jesus answered that, “The first is, ‘Hear, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love-in-action the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your life and with all your mind and with all your ability.’ Similarly, the second is this: ‘You shall love-in-action your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” 

Love-in-action? There are three kinds of love in the Bible’s Greek New Testament. Eros = erotic love. Phileo = filial or familial love. Agapao = love-in-action. “Love-in-action” is Jesus’ command: vertically, with the whole of you; horizontally, in the identical ways in which you love-in-action your own self. The command is not to say you love but to live it. Love is for real. Oh, dear.

‘I cannot tell ... how great the jubilation when all the hearts of men with love are filled…’ (William Fullerton, hymn writer, 1857-1932)    
And the scribe said to him, “Correct, Teacher. In truth you said that he is one. And no other is - except him. And to love-in-action him with all one’s heart and with all one’s being and with all one’s ability, and to love-in-action one’s neighbour as oneself, is abundantly more than all of the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 

The thinking, educated man agrees. He weighs the value of love-in-action against the making of animal sacrifices, which were part of his religion in Jerusalem. The old love-in-action commands as “far more” than all religion.

Whereupon Jesus himself, seeing that he answered thoughtfully, said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus gives his public assessment of this man’s position with regard to the Lord God – “not far from the kingdom of God.” On what basis? It was because he had responded “thoughtfully” to Jesus’ reply to his question. Maybe Richard Syvret needs to be more thoughtful. 

In particular, whilst the scribe, after reflection, used the same words as Jesus twice (“all your heart”; “all your ability”), he merged the other two of Jesus’ words (“all your life”; “all your mind”) into one (“all one’s being”). So, yes, I too think he had seen it as true truth to be followed….

And after that no one was bold enough to question him further. 

Why not? Had they begun to realise that Jesus could see inside them?

So Jesus, answering and teaching in the temple, stated, “How do the scribes state that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ David himself specifically calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” 

So, Jesus now asks the folk listening in the Temple a question about the teaching of the grammateon – the educated scribes like the one who had just questioned him. The scribes had examined closely a Psalm written about 1,000 years earlier by their King David (alive BC 980).

The scribes were convinced that what King David had written meant that the Lord God had told him that his (David’s) son would be the glorious Saviour of the people of Israel. When he (David) wrote about that he had stated that his (David’s) son’s name was “Lord”. For an ancestor to nominate a descendant of his as being his “Lord” in this way needed had never been explained. 

‘Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst sinner of all.’ (Paul writing to Timothy, c. AD 65) 
That could only be right if David’s descendant was, in fact, the Lord God himself. But, Jesus asks, how therefore could a man, descending from David, actually be God? How could the thinking, educated scribes state that?

And the large crowd was listening to him with pleasure.

Sinner Syvret

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