Summary: The Bible can be summed up in two basic commands -- love God and love your neighbor.
1. Taj Mahal
During the 1600's there was an Emperor in India by the name of Shah Jahan and he was believed to have been descended from Tamerlane and Genghis Khan
Sometime during his reign, a rebel group in the southern portion of India sought to reject his rule and so he led an army to defeat them. In his entourage was his beloved wife -- who was pregnant with their 14th child. Unfortunately she died while giving birth.
The Emperor was overwhelmed with grief and locked himself in his quarters where he neither ate nor drank for 3 days and kept the doors locked for a total of 9 days. When he emerged from his rooms, his raven black hair had turned completely white and his heart was filled with a dream.
He would build two memorials. One would be a tomb made of white marble for his wife's body, and the other a tomb of black marble to be used for his burial chambers (which he never was never able to build).
The construction of her tomb required 22,000 workers to labor 24 hours a day for 22 years. It was built of white marble decorated with 28 different kinds of gems. A sheet of pearls was spread over the coffin doors of solid silver opened onto the tomb and a solid gold railing surrounded the monument. (Readers Digest 11/83 p.161) -- It was the Taj Mahal
APPLY: The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous memorials in the world, and it is a memorial to death. The Shah didn't build it while his wife lived... only after she died.
Memorials are often built to remind us of someone who has died that we care for or respect.
A memorial is something that is built to help us remember.
2. God Gives Memorial for LIFE
a. Lord's Supper is a reminder of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus -- HE LIVES!
b. In Deuteronomy 6.4ff -- God gives his people something to remember
3. Jesus Faces a Key Question -- Mark 12.28-34
I. The Test of Teachers
This is in the context of debate, not necessarily a trap
A. They knew an Important Prophet was to Come
1. Like Moses -- Deuteronomy 18.15
15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen--
2. Pay attention to him -- Luke 9.35 (Transfiguration)
B. They Knew to Test Prophets (18.21-22)
21 And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?'--22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
1. Observe their words and act accordingly
2. Testing Jesus -- determine truth and Rabbinic background
II. The Test Question
A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M, and I pick up things. What am I?" When the grades were all in the teacher was astounded to find that almost fifty percent had written in, mother. This was a good answer but not the one the teacher was looking for.
A. Tendency to Summarize
B. Possible answers:
1. Sabbath -- all will fall into place
2. Live by Faith
3. Food Laws
C. Jesus' Answer -- Deuteronomy 6.4ff
[A pagan went to R. Shammai and said that he would convert and become a proselyte IF Shammai would tell him the whole Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai took a builder's ruler and drove him away. The pagan went to R. Hillel and made the same proposal. Hillel stood on one foot and said, "What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary, go learn it."
1. To Jesus the greatest command involved kingdom living
2. He combines two commands into one -- Love God as seen in loving your neighbor (cf. Matthew 7.12)
III. The Test in Action -- Matthew 4.1-11
From the Talmud: King Jannai said to his wife, "Fear not the Pharisees and the non-Pharisees but the hypocrites who ape the Pharisees; because their deeds are the deeds of Zimri but they expect the reward of Phineas."
A. Jesus is the Real Deal -- He Loved God in the Temptation