Saturday, September 28, 2013

The One and Only...Understand?

The most important commandment is this... The LORD your God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these... Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. ~ Jesus, see Mark 12: 28-34
Can you answer these questions? 

"No other commandment is greater than these." Jesus said.

The Bible Scholar concurred. "They are even more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Jesus affirmed him. "If you understand this, you understand a lot, and you are standing at the threshold of the Kingdom of God."

Jesus has been responding to a series of questions meant to entrap him. On the edges of the debate stood an Old Testament scholar listening to the dialogue. He jumped in, and asked, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" Jesus answered, and in so doing, threw down the gauntlet. Mark's Gospel tells us that his concise report cleared away all the topsoil exposing the bedrock of what knowing and loving God was all about. Quoting the most important commandment in the entire volume of Scripture,  Jesus said in effect, You must start here: "The LORD our God is the one and only LORD." With that, the question and answer session ceased.

Unpacking Jesus' response...

He said that belief in the one and only LORD, is a must. It is the only doorway into the Kingdom. He left no theological wiggle room. God is not a god among many gods--He is the One and only.

Transformation starts on the heart level, and believes that God is who he says He is. God makes the first move: It's not a discovery on our part--it's a revelation on His. We move toward God's revelation of Himself, and God moves into us. Centuries of Believers who started this journey will tell you that what was once an impossibility--loving yourself and loving others, is unexplainable apart from a genuine work of God. But their heart was changed, they were enabled to extend God's grace and mercy to themselves, and from there they are able to do the same toward others.

What's not to love? If God loves me--I can love me. If God loves others--I can love others. Is it any wonder that Jesus told the teacher, if you understand this you understand a lot?

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