Read for This Week’s Study: Mark 12:29-31, Deuteronomy 10:1-19, Psalm 146:5-10, Matthew 7:12, Deuteronomy 27:19, James 1:27-2:11.
Memory Text: “Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
As we read last week, when asked by a scribe about “the first commandment of all” (Mark 12:28), Jesus answered by giving the affirmation of God as one, and then He said: “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).
However, Jesus continued, talking then about the “second, like it” (Mark 12:31), something that the scribe hadn’t asked about. Nevertheless, Jesus, knowing how important it was, said: “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).
No commandment greater than these? Jesus linked love for God and love for one’s neighbor to each other as the two greatest commandments, and those commandments were the greatest of all.
Again, Jesus wasn’t coming up with something new, something that the Jews hadn’t heard before. Instead, the call to love Him supremely — the idea of loving one’s neighbor and of loving other people as a way to express our love for God was, yes, taken from the book of Deuteronomy.