All along the journey to His Cross, Jesus is met with His biggest adversary the Devil, as Satan uses the RELIGIOUS Pharisees to try to entrap Jesus so they could arrest and kill Him.
It is a most despicable tactic, but Jesus is far too smart for them.
One question posed is innocent sounding enough, but there is no innocence in RELIGION. EVER! RELIGION by its very nature is a killer of the living soul. It matters not the foundation in person (Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca, Hinduism, etc.). Some are more abject violent and physically dangerous, while others portray themselves as peaceful. Even some factions and sects of Christianity will steal your soul and leave you shipwrecked on the reefs of false hope.
Remember this sage advice: It must always be Jesus, and if what you have perceived as being from Jesus is not teaching and preaching the Love of God, it ain’t Jesus! Please, please, remember this.
OK. so here is the crafty, if not benign and innocent sounding question:
Mark 12:28 (AMP) – “Then one of the scribes came up and listened to them disputing with one another, and, noticing that Jesus answered them fitly and admirably, he asked Him, Which commandment is first and most important of all [in its nature]?”
Oh, you sly and smooth talking Lawyer!
Jesus was way ahead of Him, and being well familiar with those whom He would say in just a few short moments that we need to beware of the Scribes (lawyers), He answered the devilish schmoozer.
Mark 12:29-31 (AMP) – “ Jesus answered, The first and principal one of all commands is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord;
30 And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. 31 The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Jesus opens with a quote from the OT Book of Deuteronomy. The scribe would be very familiar with it as would the devil. Notice how Jesus also shattered the legal binding status of following the Law of the Tablets. “No other commandments greater than these!”
Then He hits him where he lacks.
LOVE! LOVE God, LOVE your neighbor, and even LOVE yourself.
On all three counts the scribe will try to stroke Jesus into believing he understands, but there is no understanding. Evil cannot comprehend or understand LOVE. Evil consumes the RELIGIOUS and turns them into a self loathing society that takes its nature from their father the devil.
We can clearly see here, if you open your Spirit eyes and kick in your gifts of discernment, wisdom, and knowledge, we will see the murderous plot unfolding.
Jesus plays the lawyer and all of the religionists watching, by paying a backhanded compliment to the lawyer, by telling him “you are not far from the Kingdom of God”. Note Jesus didn’t say he was IN the Kingdom.
Here’s how Jesus really felt:
Mark 12:38-40 (AMP) – “And in [the course of] His teaching, He said, Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and [to get] greetings in the marketplaces [public forums], 39 And [have] the front seats in the synagogues and the chief couches (places of honor) at feasts, 40 Who devour widows’ houses and to cover it up make long prayers. They will receive the heavier [sentence of] condemnation.”
This RELIGIOUS travesty is alive and well today. Even as every good believer is immersed in prayer, and study, and contemplation of what this week represents, there are entire organizations more concerned with the show of religiosity.
From the beginning of false celebrations like Ash Wednesday and Lent, all the way through to even today when many Christian churches will practice Maundy or (Holy) Thursday. They have already showed their ignorance of the truth by being behind a full day, as Jesus is already in the ground by today having actually died on Wednesday, not on the popularly celebrated Good Friday.
I’m not advocating getting wrapped around the axle over these things. I plan on gathering with believers for Good Friday myself, as we have walked this too far down the road to turn around now. After all, we celebrate His birth at a time that is so far removed from when He was probably born it’s ridiculous, not to mention the commercial endeavor Christmas has turned into. We have all compromised the truth a bit, but more important is to keep our heart right.
Hold onto the LOVE angle of what we are contemplating here. EVERYTHING Jesus did throughout this week was designed to show the LOVE of God contrasted by the backdrop of evil and religion.
Jesus was moving toward the single most selfless act ever perpetrated by anyone in all of world history. He showed us the importance of loving so greatly, that we would love even those who hate us, right up to the point of suffering.
We are either going to believe this, or we will sanitize it and adorn it with a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
It’s either real, or a dog and pony show.
I opt for truth and reality.