The Most Important Commandment - Wednesday, Mark 12:28-44
Today is Wednesday in the fifth week in Lent, and we are reading the rest of Mark chapter 12. Jesus is teaching in Jerusalem, and he continues to show us what God's kingdom is like, and how to follow him as he leads us into God's ways.
Yesterday we heard the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees all come and ask Jesus questions. They tried to trap him and to trick him. I wonder how this the man who comes to ask Jesus about the commandments is different? I wonder what he hoped for when he came to speak with Jesus?
Jesus repeats Moses's words. The first and most important commandment is to love God with all of my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. I wonder what my life would look like if I obeyed that commandment fully? Would my life change at all or look different?
I wonder if it is possible for me to love God with all of myself perfectly all the time? Does that sometimes feel impossible? Can I talk with the God who loves me and will make me new about that right now?
The other most important commandment is to love my neighbor as I love myself. Can I ask God, right now, to show me a way I can do this today?
The prophet Jeremiah tells us that a time is coming when God will write his commandments on our hearts. They will be a part of us. Can I ask God to work in me, write these words on my heart, and teach me to love and follow these good ways?
After Jesus gave this answer about, I wonder why no one else dared to ask him any more questions?
Jesus says that the Messiah, God's chosen king, is the Lord who is even more important than King David. But when this king comes, he does not put himself in an important place; instead, he gives up his life to save people. I wonder how that is different from religious leaders who like to have people listen to them, and to notice and respect them?
Can I imagine sitting with Jesus, and watching people put their offerings into a money box? Can I picture the rich people, stuffing the box full of their offerings? And then can I hear the sad clink of the two small coins put in by the poor widow? Whose offering seems like it is the most important, or will do the most good?
Can I ask Jesus, right now, to help me see the way that he does? Can I believe that the poor widow's gift is more valuable and important than all of the rich people's money?
I wonder if that poor widow can show me something about God? When God comes to us in Jesus, does he hold anything back? Or does he give us all that he has?
I wonder how the poor widow can show me something about following God's greatest commandments?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to talk with God about right now, or carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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