Summary: The deep and profound truths are not necessarily the most complex. It is true that life itself can be complex. The problems we face can be complex. Sometimes there are no simple answers. Therefore, it seems that the weighty matters of life must be filled with complexity.
28. aOne of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and brecognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the 1foremost of all?”
29. Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘aHEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
30. aAND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
31. “The second is this, ‘aYOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32. The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that aHE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
33. aAND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, bis much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34. When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” aAfter that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
The deep and profound truths are not necessarily the most complex. It is true that life itself can be complex. The problems we face can be complex. Sometimes there are no simple answers. Therefore, it seems that the weighty matters of life must be filled with complexity.
Often we are surprised when the most simple of concepts turn out to be the most profound. Yet, that is often the case. For instance, take love. It is so simple, yet defies a simple definition. If there ever was a topic which could qualify as the most thought about, written about, talked about, sung about, it is certainly love. Love has been defined as "a many splendored thing," "a flower," "a rose," and as a thing that "the world needs now." The love story has not only been told, but written about in poetry, in quality works of literature, as well as in romance novels and screenplays.
But for all this talking and writing and reading and watching and listening and thinking, people are still confused about love. It defies simple definition. However, in spite of their confusion, one thing is universally clear. Everyone knows that love is profound, it is something they need, and all of us want to be loved.
People have tried everything to find real love. They’ve even tried "free love," which wasn't free at all. It cost many not only their purity, but their self-respect. We've searched for that "perfect person" to love us, only to find there was no such human being. But there is one affair we do need. In fact, it is a love affair Jesus prescribed and is found on the pages of our text today. It is a love affair with our Lord. In fact, the Bible has much to say about love. Today, we will see in Jesus' encounter with the scribe that a love affair with God is needed in all of our lives. In fact, it should be the top priority for each of us. I wonder, what is the top priority in your life?
Undoubtedly the scribe in our passage today had given that issue serious consideration. But there is evidence here that while he understood it intellectually, he had never experienced it for himself. He knew about God, but it wasn't enough. It brought him close, but it didn't get him into the Kingdom. You see, we might know about God, but being close to the Kingdom is not enough. We must enter the Kingdom by making our top priority loving God fully. To fall short of experiencing a full love for our Lord is to fall short of the fullness of the Kingdom.
Let's look at the priorities our text reveals should be at the top of our list.
The Top Priorities of Relational Love
For some time, Jesus had been engaged with the various religious leaders as they put question after question to Him, attempting to trick Him into a wrong answer. Over and over, Jesus had baffled them with a dazzling display of knowledge and wisdom. There was a scribe who had been impressed with Jesus' answers. He came to Jesus and put a very important question to Him, "What commandment is the foremost of them all?" This may have not been a trick question at all, but the scribe's own question. Here was a man truly interested in cutting through all the word games and getting to the real meat of the issue. He was asking Jesus to explain, in a nutshell, the bottom line of what it meant to follow God.
In His reply to the Scribe, Jesus pulls together two well-known passages of Old Testament Scripture. One concerns itself with love for God; the other with love for your neighbor. We have dubbed them the great commandments. They speak of the top priorities of relational love. All the law and the prophets boiled down to these great commandments, and the key is found in verse 30: