Jesus answered the scribe’s question of which is the greatest commandment: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This wasn’t some newly created distillation of the ten commandments. Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy and Leviticus. By using these phrases he not only demonstrated his knowledge of Scripture, but validated the authority of the law. This all makes sense.
Then we come to Jesus’ meeting with the young rich man. This man chases Jesus down... literally. He runs down the road to catch up with him. He kneels and calls Jesus “Good Teacher.” Then he asks what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answer is almost coy. He starts with a question, “Why do you call me good? No man is good.”
He continues by telling the man to obey the commandments, and lists them. Well, sort of... Jesus lists five of the ten commandments. And not the first five. Actually the decalogue breaks into sections of four and six. The first four deal with our relationship with God, the “love the Lord” part. The final six cover “love your neighbor.”
Jesus seems to be playing a game with the young man. He tells him not to commit adultery, murder, or lie, and that he should honor his father and mother.
This seems like all the wrong answers. It’s as if Jesus is saying that one can attain heaven by doing certain things, when the entire premise of the New Testament is that we gain eternal life by faith in God... more in line with the first four of the commandments.
What do you think Jesus was doing? read more
See Mark 12
See Mark 10