However much some Christians, for various reasons, seek to separate the Old Testament from the New, it can’t be done, at least not without all but denuding the New Testament of its true meaning. The New Testament, in its revelation of Jesus and its theological explanations of His life, death, resurrection, and High Priestly ministry, points to the fulfillment of many of the Old Testament prophecies and types. In many ways, the Old Testament forms the background, the context, the basis for the New. Both testaments reveal the goodness and love of God.
This is one reason why, over and over, the New Testament, including Jesus, quotes the Old.
Read Mark 12:28-30. What was the question asked about the “first commandment of all”? What does Jesus respond and from where does He get His answer?
It’s interesting that a scribe, someone who had dedicated his life to understanding the law and how it should be applied, would have asked this question. However, many laws they might have believed that they needed to obey (later Jewish tradition said that there were 613 laws), it’s not surprising that they would want it all distilled into one question.
And what does Jesus do?
He goes right to Deuteronomy 6, starting out with the “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4), and then quotes the next verse as well, about loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength. He pointed to the key affirmation of the Lord as their God, their only God, and based on that great truth, they are called to love Him supremely.
What could be more “present truth” than this command? In the very last days, when final events unfold and everyone will be called to choose one side or the other in a very dramatic way, the commandments of God (Revelation 14:12) will play a crucial role.
Ultimately, the side we choose, even in the face of persecution, will be based on whether or not we truly love God. That’s the deciding issue, and we can come to love God with all our heart and soul and might only as we come to know Him for ourselves and experience for ourselves His goodness, love, and grace. If need be, that’s something to die for.
|If someone were to ask you: How do people come to love a God that they have never seen personally, what would you say? In class, talk about your answer.|