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The Most Important One


Mark 12: 28-34

In this passage, we once again find Jesus answering a question.

So two times Jesus has already been questioned in this chapter.

And in this passage we find him questioned again.

But this time seems to be different.

This question is asked by a scribe…a teacher of the Law… who has apparently heard the other questions by the Herodians,  Pharisees, and Saducees as they tried to trap Jesus by His own words.

And Jesus answers…perhaps not in the way that this scribe expects.

And when He did, each time the people were amazed.

This morning, Jesus is going to do the same thing.

He is going to get to the heart of the matter…and when  He does, hopefully we will not only be amazed…but we will also be convicted and repent if repentance is needed.

Lets look at the passage. Verse 28.


And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing…”

But any way, it says, “And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”

 Now, you need to understand that that question did not just come “out of the blue.”

You see, what had happened was these Jewish Rabbis had studied the Laws of Moses…and what they would do is they would add some of their own personal thoughts and opinions, and traditions, and regulations, and interpretations to them….most of the time to fit their own desires.

 You see, they would add their traditions to the laws…and the result was that this huge debate broke out over which laws were the most important…or heavy laws….and which were not as important…or light laws.

Turn to Matthew 15. Read. 1-6.

You see, that was the debate.

One Jewish Rabbi at the time was a Rabbi named Shemei…and he had gone through the Books of Moses and had determined that there were 613 laws.

So now the question came up…which ones were more important.

But then other Rabbi’s would come along and say,  “NO, wearing the prayer boxes is a heavy law too.”

So this is a debate that has been going on for some time…and this scribe is so impressed with Jesus’ answers to other questions…that he wants to know what Jesus has to say about this issue.

So he asks, “which commandment is foremost of all.”

Now, here this man is waiting to hear one of the commandments from the Law of Moses.

But, Jesus doesn’t deal with the symptom…He deals with the heart of the matter.


Look at what He says  in verse 29.

This man says, “What commandment is foremost of all?”

And Jesus says,

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord, our God is one Lord; 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.”

 Do you understand what Jesus has said here?

 And what Jesus does here is HE gets to the heart of the matter and  He says,  “You can call one commandment more important than another.”

It is a waste!

Look at this.

The problem was, the one thing they needed most…was missing and that was a love for God.

And  it is the same for us…we can keep all the commandments we want.

Look at what Jesus says next in verses 31.

 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

You can almost hear them can’t you?

And again, Jesus says, “You can keep all the commandments you want.”

Several years later Paul would teach this same principle to some of our brethren in the church at Corinth.

But listen to these words from Paul found in I Corithians 13: 1-2 as he warns these brethren about the use of their gifts.

 1 Cor 13:1-2          If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  2          And if I have {the gift of} prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Brethren, you can do it all….

Look at what the scribe says next in verse 32.

 Mark 12:32-33       And the scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher, you have truly stated that He is One; and there is no one else besides Him;33        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 himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

 Now look at verse 34.

 Just knowing it is not enough.

Did he come to “love God…and his neighbor?”

Will you make it to the Kingdom of God…or will you just miss it by a little bit?