Summary of passage: Now a Pharisee tries again to trap Jesus by asking him what is the greatest commandment of the Law. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law boils down to this.
6a) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Mark adds that the Lord our God is one.
b) Not sure because people don’t say the opposite but they live out the opposite which is the fact most people love themselves more than God and live for themselves and not God. I think this is what BSF is looking for.
c) Just that. We love ourselves deeply and usually put ourselves first. Jesus is saying to love everyone just as deeply and treat them as you would yourself. Show concern for them and interest in them and their lives.
d) Because if you don’t have God first in your life then you’ll never be capable of putting others first in your life and loving them as you love yourself. Only through the love of God can we love others as Jesus commands us to love. Only through loving God, fearing God, serving God, observing the commandments, and walking in His ways can we produce such love that will fulfill the law.
7a) All your heart, soul, mind and strength: Love God with all your heart. To embed Him in you. To have the Holy Spirit within to guide you on His path. You love Him with everything you have, everything you are, everything you will be. Period.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Put Him first in my life always. Pray all the time before I do anything. Wake with Him there and go to bed with Him there. Have God in the forefront of my mind instead of me.
c) Personal Question. My answer: That we are God’s chosen people out of all the peoples on the earth. We are His treasured possession. He will love us and bless us and increase our numbers (verse 13). He will keep us free from disease (verse 15).
If you realize how much God loves you and truly believe it then it is easy to obey Him and conquer those opposed to Him.
We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). If we are loved, then we can love.
Conclusions: This lesson was awash for me and should be called the study of Deuteronomy as well. I blame myself: I had great expectations of what I’m unsure but none were met. Number 7a I put together as you cannot separate in my opinion God’s greatest command and for me I found this hard to explain as it is as simple as it is stated. You love God with everything you have. Period. Mark 12:30 did not help so why was it mentioned?
7c I didn’t “learn” anything. I was reminded that we are God’s people. But I cannot fathom His love for me and no human words can convey it.
Unsure on 6b. Not sure people “say” anything. They do the opposite and probably say God is first, being hypocrites as most people I know (including myself at times). Very few admit they live for themselves instead of for God.
I think I wanted these commandments to be pressed upon me to the point I’d follow it every moment of my life. And I realize now BSF can’t do that; only God can. So I prayed, “God, let me live this out. That you are number One in my life and that I can love a little bit as you love.”
My take away: I fall far short of these commands and I need to work on it with God’s help.
End Notes: In that day there were 613 commandments in Moses’ law and various groups argued over which were the most important. The trap was for Jesus to pick just one which would surely offend some of these groups. Once again Jesus outwits them to the point they give up and dare not ask him anything else because then they look stupid.