Wouldn’t you love to grab a cup of coffee with Jesus? Sometimes I think…. “wow, there were real, living, people that spent time with Him! Asking Him questions and hearing Him teach. It was during those moments that Jesus regularly offended the religious leaders of His day. They did not like the idea
of this man who was spreading the crazy idea that He was one with the Father. He spoke with an authority that drove them to anger. One such exchange took place in Mark 12.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And 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.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
(Mark 12:28-34 ESV)
On this occasion, the question was an attempt to trap and to challenge His authority. They desire to expose Him as a fraud. (See the surrounding context.) But, Jesus’ answer shuts down the attempt and any other attempt at the moment. (Note how the above exchange ends.)
What is the most important commandment?
Love God with all that you are and love your neighbor like you love yourself.
His answer is profound in many ways. But, let’s just consider one very big implication of His answer. You see, for us to love others, we must be fully captured by His love. When we rightly love God, because He first loves us, we can then rightly love others.
The text above is familiar to many. Maybe too familiar… Try to make the whole event unfamiliar to you for a moment. Consider what is being said here. Note the gravity of this moment.
Jesus, the Son of God, who took on human flesh….. is saying this is the GREATEST commandment. Wow! This is the granddaddy of them all. It is a sit up and listen kind of moment. The absolute most important command in all of the Word of God is to love God with all our hearts. Hold nothing back in your love for Him. With all of who you are…. love Him!
Pause a moment and ask yourself: “How am I doing at this, the greatest of all commandments? How am I doing with the, hold nothing back and love God with all of my being?”
The next thing Jesus says is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, what is interesting about that is Jesus was not asked “what are the TWO greatest commandments.” He treats the TWO as ONE.
He says in VS 31 “there is no other commandment greater than these.” The two things Jesus is saying are two sides to one coin.
What’s my point? The command to love one another flows from our love for God. Or, we could say, when we love God with all of our being, we WILL love others. Loving others is the overflow of loving God with all of who we are.
“Now those are the two stupendous things we need to ponder before we dive into the overwhelming commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I say it is overwhelming because it seems to demand that I tear the skin off my body and wrap it around another person so that I feel that I am that other person; and all the longings that I have for my own safety and health and success and happiness I now feel for that other person as though he were me.”
What Does It Look Like?
To help us understand what it does look like, let us first consider what it doesn’t look like.
And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
(Mark 12:38-40 ESV)
The religious leaders loved to be known, seen, sit up front and be noticed, pray long so others can be impressed…
“There are those who delight to spend time in contemplation. They contemplate God; he is to them a matter of curious study; they like to meditate upon him; the doctrines of his Word they could hear all day long. And they are very sound in the faith, extremely orthodox and very knowing, they can fight about doctrines, they can dispute about the things of God with all their hearts; but alas! Their religion is like a dead fish, cold and stiff, and when you take it into your hand you say there is no life in it; their souls are not stirred with it; their hearts were never through into it. The can contemplate, but then cannot love; then can meditate, but they cannot commune; they can think of God, but then can never throw up their souls to Him, and clasp Him in the arms of their affections. Oh! To you this text speaks- “Thou shalt love the Lord the God with all they heart.”
Did you know that it is possible to “know” all the right things. You can study the right doctrines, and believe the right things while arrogantly fighting with others about those doctrines. When my conversation shifts into a priority to fight with someone to believe what I believe more than love this person, something has gone wrong.
What do we want to be known for. Our love for doctrine? Or, how we loved God with all of our being and we loved others?
I am NOT saying – don’t love doctrine. Loving God includes loving doctrine. But, loving doctrine does not necessarily include loving God.
Loving God will affect how or if we love others.
So, what DOES this love look like?
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
(Mark 12:41-44 ESV)
Why does Mark include this story here? The context of these texts helps us understand what Mark is doing.
The widows offering is not a “go and give away all you have”, text.
It is a motive text. Mark is helping us see the motive behind the poor widow. She has nothing of substance to give, and yet she gave everything she had. She is exhibit A on what her love for God looks like. She demonstrates her lavish love for God and her love for others who are in need, though she herself is needy.
This is far from being a text of duty. It is a text of passionate love for God and others. She is not required to do this. No one is telling her to do this. She is unknowingly, making a statement about her love for God and others.
God, help me to live like this… Sacrificially and generously, as a way of life.
What will cause me to live like this? How might this affect my hospitality, service to others, care, compassion, evangelism, participation in my local church, small groups, and on and on it goes….
Love God Tim, Love God with all of your being!
1. Daily seek to remember Gods love and be captured by that love.
2. Be dependent on Him. I cannot do this alone! I must recognize that I can’t do this commandment without God. It is supernatural – beyond what is natural. I need God!
3. Seek to love God and others in some practical way today.
4. Repeat #1!
Hey, remember how this post started with this question: Wouldn’t you love to grab a cup of coffee with Jesus? You can do just that at the start of each day. So, grab your Bible and sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with Jesus.