11.02.2015

Mark 12:28-34


ppt

The power of loving God
Reading: Mark 12:28-34
Blanks:

(3) In the time of Jesus, there were teachers of the law.
What did they do?
They studied the Old Testament.
Then they found various rules and regulations.
Then they wrote down these rules and regulations.
And they asked people to keep these rules and regulations.
But for common people, for ordinary people, keeping all these rules and regulations was such a burden.
It was almost impossible.

(3) So sometimes people tried to simplify these rules and regulations by asking this question:
“Which is the most important commandment of all?”
They wanted to know thinking that if they keep that most important commandment, they might be ok with God.
They were trying to simplify God’s commandment so that they could apply God’s principle into their life.

In fact, many people had done that in the Bible.
For example, King David also tried to simplify God’s commandment:
(3) Then he came up with this: Psalm 15:
“Those who obey God in everything and always do what is right,
whose words are true and sincere, and who do not slander others.
They do no wrong to their friends nor spread rumors about their neighbors.
They despise those whom God rejects, but honor those who obey the Lord.
They always do what they promise, no matter how much it may cost.
They make loans without charging interest and cannot be bribed to testify against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will always be secure.”

(3) Then the prophet Isaiah also simplified, like this: Isaiah 33:15
“You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don't use your power to cheat the poor and don't accept bribes. Don't join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things.”

(3) The prophet Micah also simplified like this: Micah 6:8
“Do what is just, show constant love, and live in humble fellowship with our God.”

(3) Later in his life, the prophet Isaiah simplified yet again like this: Isaiah 56:1
The Lord says to his people, “Do what is just and right, for soon I will save you.”

If we summarize all these, they were asking people to do what is right.

(2) Now following this tradition of simplifying the teachings of the Old Testament, a teacher of the law was asking Jesus like this:
“Jesus, how would you simplify all the laws in the Old Testament?
Which is the most important commandment of all?”

Then Jesus answered like this:
(3) “The most important one is this:
‘Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Here Jesus is saying what Jewish people already knew.
Because whenever they worship together, they recited this.
It is called “Shema”:
(3) In fact, they place this text in a mezuzah and put it on their doorpost:
(3) And when they pray, they wear a small box on their head (tefillin) that contain these words of shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
It says:
“Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

To that, Jesus just added:
“and with all our mind.”
Jesus may be asking him to love God with his mind.
Jesus may ask him to use his good mind to understand the teaching of Jesus.
Or Jesus may be saying:
“I want you guys to love God, with your all being, including your mind.”

(3) Then Jesus said:
“The second important commandment is this:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”

Jewish people knew this one, too.
Because it is in the book of Leviticus which says:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

(3) But you know according to Jesus, everyone who needs his help is our neighbor.
So Jesus is saying:
“Love everyone.”

Like this, Jesus was saying:
“Love God and love people.
Then you will be able to do what is right.”

(3) Then this teacher of the law who asked Jesus the question agreed and said:
“Well said, teacher, you are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Then Jesus was like:
“Wow, you are not far away from the kingdom of God.”

(2) Today Jesus didn’t say:
“Do what is right.”

Instead, Jesus is saying:
“If you love God, you will have power to do what is right.
If you love God, God’s power can manifest through you.
So you will be able to do what is right.
Do good to your neighbors.
Then as you love people, God will continually use you to do what is right.”

One time, I was struggling spiritually.
Then a Christian brother taught me this kind of prayer.
(3) He asks me to repeat this kind of prayer:
“God, I want to love you.
I love you.
Jesus, I want to love you.
I love you.
Holy Spirit, I want to love you.
I love you.”

Then slowly I felt calmness coming into my hearts.
Then I was able to think in the right way and live in the right way.

When we repeat this prayer, we are asking God to help us to love God and love people.
And we are encouraging ourselves to love God.
Then God empowers us to think in the right way and live in the right way.
Then God may use us to help people in the right way.

So I suggest to you that you try this prayer if you want.
“God, I want to love you.
I love you.
Jesus, I want to love you.
I love you.
Holy Spirit, I want to love you.
I love you.”

When we pray like this to love God, God may answer our prayer.
Then we may really love God and be able to do what is right.
Because God’s love overflow our hearts, we cannot help but to love God and love people in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Right?

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for teaching us to love you and love people.
Help us to love you and love your people.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen