Following the two commandments

Here's this week's post from the Opening the Bible blog at i.ucc. It's from one of my favorite parts of the Bible -- where Jesus reminds the scribes about the two most important commandments. (Be sure to check out the link to the 10 C's too -- they're bound to spark discussion. I just made a new one because the old UCC link is gone!)

Following the two commandments

Jesus had another quiz. 'What commandment is the first over all?" Was the question. Jesus answered the question by giving them what they already knew -- but weren't expecting.
Do you know the ten commandments?

How could you? They've been removed from the courthouse! How will we ever learn to follow the rules if the monument of them isn't in the courthouse? If we don't have the ten rules as a guide for us every time we go to court, society will fall into turmoil and nobody will ever do the right thing! :)

I can imagine a similar scenario involving the protection of the best of the commandments by making the local hero look bad by giving the wrong answer to such an absurd question.
But Jesus responded with the perfect answer, yet again.

Jesus responded, in Mark 12:28-34, to the scribe's question of "Which commandment is first over all" by going outside of the expected 10. He gave them the scriptures -- first the Great Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The what? The affirmation of faith that begins with the "Hear oh Israel" phrases that parents are supposed to repeat and teach their children and put on their doorposts. This one is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.")

Then Jesus gave them other words they were familiar with from Leviticus 19:18 -- "Love your neighbor as yourself." And no one could respond. Jesus gave it to them in plain talk. Those were the two and everything else hinged (and hinges) on them.
Of course, the question, "Who is my neighbor" comes to mind with that second one. Jesus addressed that another time -- with the answer being just as simple. Everyone is your neighbor.

So those two commandments -- the most important ones -- the ones that inform everything else:
  • Love God
  • Love others
Any questions on that one?
If you want to have some fun with the ten commandments? Here's an interpretation the UCC came out with a couple of years back. They're hard to find -- but here's a link. The "10 c's" should get people talking!

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