After my regular Tuesday morning “leader’s prayer time” I headed to Denver. As part of our preparation for our trip, I took our dog to my mother’s house. I also met up with my sister to wrap up some business with my mom’s new roof that was install in February.
I needed to get my glasses fixed and so made a trip to Mountain Vista Eye Care. I was able to see my eye doctor and friend Steve Loomis. It was good to get caught up and for him to see me without a wheelchair.
I stopped to visit Christian and Bridget and the grand kids. I took a little nap before fighting evening traffic back to Fort Collins. As I was leaving Christian and Bridget were getting ready to head different directions with baseball scrimmage for Riley, soccer practice for Caedmon (he has his official shin pads) and tumbling for Eliana.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… A teacher of the Law was there who heard the discussion. He saw that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer, so he came to him with a question: “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.” Mark 12:28-31
Jesus time in Jerusalem leading up to the celebration of Passover is filled with His teaching. Much of what He said, was in response to questions that were being asked. Questions that were designed to trap more than a desire for insight.
Questions about Jesus authority. Questions about paying taxes to Caesar. Questions about marriage in heaven. Questions about the greatest commandment. It is interesting that Jesus’ response to several questions were designed to lead those who asked to their own decision. He asked his interrogators what their opinion was of John the Baptist. He asked for a coin? In responding to the question about raising from the dead, He said, “God is the God of the living.” And He prefaced His remark to the religious leaders with, “you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God!” (Mark 12:24) (Ouch!)
In response to the question about the greatest commandment, Jesus simply said, “Love God with your entire being, love your neighbor as yourself.” He distilled the 613 laws of the Old Testament plus those the Pharisees added as a guard to the law of Moses, into two basic commands. The Law of Moses is about our relationship with God and our relationship with others. To me that vertical and horizontal focus of our lives is picture in the cross, with the head of Jesus looking up and the arms of Jesus out stretched.
In all of these attempts to trap Jesus, He made His point and frustrated the religious leaders trying to trap Him. We read of their response, “…the people they could not catch him in a thing, so they kept quiet, amazed at his answer.” (Luke 20:26) After Jesus turned the tables and asked them a question about the Messiah being the Son of David, they were not able to answer. Some responded, “A good answer, Teacher!” And the Luke adds, “…they did not dare ask him any more questions.” (Luke 20:39,40)
Then we see that several gospel writers record Jesus teaching about the “coming of the Son of Man.” Jesus gave them the “signs of end times.” He prepared them for what they would face and told them to keep awake and stay alert and watch. He did this in parables and in specific teaching with the Temple as the backdrop. (Luke 21:7-38; Mark 13:1-37)
The teachings of this week are important, because they were some of the final lessons, Jesus taught. Some insights were pulled out of Him by questions that were asked, others were through observations (Widow’s mite) some were to speak of how to live right before God in the present and to prepare for the future.
As we have observed the response of the crowd, “hanging on Jesus words”; it is a reminder to us to value, study and heed Jesus instructions. As we do, we find insight into our lives for today and preparation for the future, as God’s plan for this world continues to unfold.