9. In NT Vistas.After 3.5 years of public ministry, we come to the last week of Jesus’ lifeTension is increasing between Jesus and the religious leadersJesus has been pronouncing judgmentThey have challenged Jesus’ authority and tried to embroiled him in political and theological turmoilThis tension provides context for our story: Greatest Command?The Greatest Commandment is More than a Feeling
A teachable scribe (a theological scholar, probably of the Pharisaic faction) holds a friendly dialogue with Jesus. Sometimes we get the idea that Jesus was at odds with all the Scribes (teachers of the law) and Pharisees. (“Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites!) Jesus was not at odds with all Jewish leaders & teachers.At least one other prominent Pharisee had come to Jesus with an honest inquiry (Nicodemus, John 3 – Even the best of us has to be born again, born from above, born of water and spirit). In that context we have the best loved NT verse – John 3:16. Nicodemus stood up in support of Jesus in John 7:50-51 and he helped bury Jesus.Two other Sanhedrin members appear in a favorable light in the NT: Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus (John 19:38ff) and Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39 & Acts 22:3)One of Jesus’ best known teachings (The Golden Rule) is a variation of a teaching of another Pharisee, Rabbi HillelThis man asks which commandment of God is of fundamental importance and central to everything else.
Jesus quotes from the OT (Deut 6:4-5). The Shema, named after the first word of the verse, which means "Hear" (v.29). Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is a confession of faith that is recited by pious Jews every morning and evening. It basically affirms two things: (1) the unity of God ("the Lord is one") and (2) the covenant relationship of God to the Jewish people ("the Lord our God"). God is to be loved completely and totally ( v.30 ) because he, and he alone, is God and because he has made a covenant of love with his people. In the covenant God gives himself totally in love to his people; therefore he expects his people to give themselves totally ("soul," "mind," and "strength") in love to him.
In Hebrew liturgy Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ; 11:13-21 ; and Numbers 15:37-41 comprise the Shema.
Notice the reminders: Deuteronomy passages talk about frontlets, phylacteries & mezuzahs; Numbers passage talks about tassels.Jew couldn’t get dressed, look at forearm, have a conversation with another Jew, enter house or city, without a reminder of who God is and what his relationship to God requires of him.But many teachers of the law and Pharisees could and did become more interested in show than substance: Matthew 23:5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
MonotheismOur primary response to the one God — is to love himWhat does it mean to love God?*Passionate — heart, soul, mind, strength — everything, w/o reserve
Personal – Not love things about God, but love God himself
Does it move you, like even a good song? — Draw you closer to God?Does your relationship with Jesus affect you at the deepest places of your soul?We are different people, and we show our emotions differentlyBut for love to be love, there must be emotion — must move our affectionsIf your children were perfectly obedient—no emotional tie—love?If your spouse perfect (cooking & cleaning) — did everything expected but no emotional attachment – would she be your wife, or just the maid?You can’t take the personal, emotional element out of love and still have love.
In many ways it looks like the love I have for my wifeEmotional: want to spend time — understand — what makes her tick (informed)Drives me to act: encourage; speak only kind words; provide; ache when awayMy love is highly emotional, and it drives me to act in a certain way, not because I have to, but because I want to, because I love her.
In many ways, it looks like the love God has for meGod delights in me — Ps 18:19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.Ps 32:10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.Drives him to act: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.Ps 59:16-17 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. 17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
What does loving God look like?Passionate: I want to know him, enjoy being in his presenceWhen I sin, I ache when we are apartPs 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?Ps 63:10 God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Compels me to act: spend time; read His word; talk; tell others of his love for me; obey (a good 4-letter word)Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.But “loving God” is not the same thing as being obeying God“Do you love God?” Yes, I do what I am supposed to do — I go to churchLove is the basis for the obedience; they are not the same thing.If we love God, then yes we do obey him, but there is so much moreHe is our greatest joy, deepest desire — highly emotionalThen out his love for me, and my love for him, then I act in obedienceBy the way, we are not called to “like” God — all your heart, soul ...”God demands pre-eminence — more than mother/father
Greatest commandment is to love “God,” not love things about himI believe our tendency is not to love the person of God, but to love the more tangible things that relate to himDanger: we often equate loving these good things with loving God, so that these good things become idols
Knowing the Bible is good.How can we be like Jesus if we do not know what he is like?Without biblical knowledge, our love is ignorant emotionalismBut loving the Bible does not mean you love GodReading the Bible does not necessarily mean you are hearing the author.Pharisees knew and loved the Bible, but Jesus says: John 5:37-38 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.Test: do you stop with the words, or do the words carry you into an encounter with the author, and encounter in which your life is changed?
Some people love to worship worship, but they don’t worship GodLove to come to church whenever the door is open.Love the fellowship — physiological effect music has on their bodiesBut if the focus remains on them — not GodThey value the worth of worship by how it makes them feel — not whether God praised, glorifiedCome out of church feeling good about themselves but not necessarily feeling good about God.What about PDCOC?Enjoy the worship and the Bible preaching — goodRather hear: “People love God” — first things firstThey encourage me to love GodThey encourage me to express my love in worshipThey encourage me to inform my love with biblical preachingWhen I go to PDCOC, I am in the midst of people who love God — Greatest Commandment
Scribe asked “which commandment” (singular)But Jesus can’t stop at the one greatest commandmentYou can’t love God without at the same time loving your neighbor — 12:31
Jesus knows our tendency is to love in the abstract — love moves to action
If you do not love your neighbor, you do not love God
Neighbor is more than people living on your street — sitting next to youJesus told a story to answer “Who is my neighbor” It was the story of a disenfranchised, hated Samaritan stopping to care for a dying man.
Juan Carlos Ortiz, South America“The text for this morning is, “Love your neighbor.”Sat down & learned husband ill, lived in cardboard shanty, no running water, no power, no shelter from rain.Next day, went to town and bought lumber so at least they could stay dry when it rained.Do you love God? Ask the person sitting next to you.Listen to how we speak about one another — love / grace — critical/judgmentalWe cannot, at the same time, love God and speak in critical, demeaning, negative ways about one anotherGreatest Commandment is to love God — most importantLove must necessarily move your affectionsLove must be directed to the person of God, not good things about himLove that must overflow into our lives and neighborhoodsIf we do nothing else as a church, may we love God-And may that love be visible in how we treat/talk about one another
120129 nt vistas 09 more than a feeling mark 12 28-34
New Testament Vistas
Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the lawcame and heard them debating. Noticing thatJesus had given them a good answer, heasked him, “Of all the commandments, whichis the most important?” THE QUESTION
Mark 12:29-30 “The most important one,”answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, theLord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all yoursoul and with all your mind and with all yourstrength.’ THE ANSWER (PART ONE)
Deuteronomy 6:4-9Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and withall your soul and with all your strength. Thesecommandments that I give you today are to be uponyour hearts. Impress them on your children. Talkabout them when you sit at home and when youwalk along the road, when you lie down and whenyou get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands andbind them on your foreheads. Write them on thedoorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 11:13-21So if you faithfully obey the commands I amgiving you today–to love the LORD your God andto serve him with all your heart and with all yoursoul – then I will send rain on your land in itsseason, both autumn and spring rains, so thatyou may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle,and you will eat and be satisfied.
Deuteronomy 11:13-21Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn awayand worship other gods and bow down to them.Then the LORD’S anger will burn against you,and he will shut the heavens so that it will notrain and the ground will yield no produce, andyou will soon perish from the good land theLORD is giving you. Fix these words of mine inyour hearts and minds; tie them as symbols onyour hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Deuteronomy 11:13-21Teach them to your children, talking about themwhen you sit at home and when you walk alongthe road, when you lie down and when you getup. Write them on the doorframes of yourhouses and on your gates, so that your days andthe days of your children may be many in theland that the LORD swore to give yourforefathers, as many as the days that theheavens are above the earth.
Numbers 15:37-41The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelitesand say to them: ‘Throughout the generations tocome you are to make tassels on the corners ofyour garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.You will have these tassels to look at and so youwill remember all the commands of the LORD,that you may obey them and not prostituteyourselves by going after the lusts of your ownhearts and eyes.
Numbers 15:37-41Then you will remember to obey all mycommands and will be consecrated to your God. Iam the LORD your God, who brought you out ofEgypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’”
Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love yourneighbor as yourself. ’ There is nocommandment greater than these.” THE ANSWER (PART TWO)
Love of God Leads to Love for OthersLeviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear agrudge against one of your people, but love yourneighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Love of God Leads to Love for OthersLeviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear agrudge against one of your people, but love yourneighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. 1 John 4:20-21 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Love of God Leads to Love for OthersRomans 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commitadultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do notcovet,” and whatever other commandment theremay be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love yourneighbor as yourself.”
Love of God Leads to Love for OthersRomans 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commitadultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do notcovet,” and whatever other commandment theremay be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love yourneighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love of God Leads to Love for Others 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.