Series: BIOS of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 12:28-34
Other Pertinent Scripture: Parallel passages: for Mark 12:28-34 see Matthew 22:34-44, 46
Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Deuteronomy 10:12, Matthew 5:43-44, Luke 10:25-29, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 1 John 3:1, 4:7-21
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory.
a note on this week’s text:
At long last, we find a religious man in the book of Mark who is at least a little humble in his approach and genuinely seeks out the truth from the mouth of Jesus. This passage, these questions, and this response from Jesus is basically a summary of what God commands in Scripture. Rightly understanding the demands of God’s law leads us to know the leap of faith we must take if indeed we are to go from “not far from the Kingdom” to being part of the Kingdom that Jesus has been proclaiming and displaying throughout the whole book of Mark.
On the surface the commands to love God and love our neighbor seem like basic requirements but we find that following them might be more difficult than we first think. To love God and to love our neighbor “is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices,” and “there is no other commandment greater than these.” To follow Jesus then, in loving God and loving our neighbors is to live to the glory of God, just as we were meant to.
The following is a free 10 week digital devotional on 1 John 4:
“The Invitation to Love” by Paul Tripp
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. Jesus tells the inquiring scribe that the most important commandment is to love God. We see in Scripture that we are to love God with everything that we are (heart, soul, mind, strength). How do we love God? Do you find this command to be ambiguous? Are there tangible things we can walk in to obey this command? What might we be prone to love instead of God?
2. The second command Jesus points to is much like the first, it is about love — active love. This command to love our neighbor as ourself is not disconnected from the command to love God. Jesus isn’t giving us two separate and unrelated commands when asked “Which commandment is the most important of all?” We come to see that loving God and loving our neighbor are intricately connected. How are these two commands connected? Is it easier to say “I love God” than it is to say “I love my neighbor?” …Why? What happens in our lives when we disconnect these two commands? In what ways have you allowed these two commands to be disconnected in your life?
3. Who is your neighbor? Are you actively loving your neighbor?
Take some time to wrestle with this in light of our text and Luke 10:26-37.
4. Who is your enemy? Are you actively loving your enemy?
Take some time to wrestle with this in light of our text and Matthew 5:43-48.
5. When we truly hold these commands out before us and consider how well we do at obeying them we (hopefully) arrive at a place where we realize we do not, and in fact cannot, fulfill them completely. This is the whole point of Jesus’ response to the scribe. He tells him he is “not far from the Kingdom of God” because in order to truly enter one needs to admit that he is a sinner who falls short of the commands of God and is in need of grace from he who commands us to love. Do you try and try to fulfill the commands of God in your own effort? How well do you fulfill them? Are you prone to think that if you are obedient then God will love you more? Do you look down on and judge those who are not obeying God in the same way you think you are obeying God? Are you willing to admit that you cannot live out the law of God in complete perfection? Could it be that your mind is full of the knowledge of the law and that you are much like the scribe in our passage?
6. The step from “not far from” to “welcome to” the Kingdom of God is a step of faith that is preceded by repentance. While we know that we are in fact more sinful than we ever realized and unable to fulfill the commands of God (even when just considering two of them above) at the same time we come to believe that we are also more deeply loved in Jesus Christ than we had ever dared hope before. In Jesus then we see that the law has been completely fulfilled because he didn’t just love his neighbor but also loved those who were different than him (human beings) and what’s more he loved the very ones who were putting him on the cross and taking his life from him. He loved his enemies! You and me… we were enemies of God. Because of this we can be forgiven by his death on the cross and be transformed through his love so that we too might become loving toward others like he was toward us. Have you thought about the significance of Jesus’ love for you as an enemy of God? What does Romans 5:8 tell us about the love of God? What happens to you when you are loved like this, when someone sacrifices for you?
When we believe in Jesus Christ and accept the gift of his love for us, his enemies, our hearts are melted and transformed by the Spirit, whom God sends, as we have faith in the one who loved us. This not only changes us spiritually but it enables us to love others and to love God with a whole new heart and a new reserve of power for active love (God’s love for us is now our motivation).
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