Sitting with Jesus: In The Arena of Debate
Read: Mark 12:28-34
This was to prove quite a day of Debate and Questioning. It was the second day of Passion Week. The heat on Jesus is rising. They were out to trip Him up. So, to set the scene as “They arrived in Jerusalem……”
Read: Mark 11:27-33
“The Chief Priests, Teachers of The Law and Elders” – Three groups represented in the Sanhedrin, the Body that governed Jewish Religious life and the Establishment, teamed up to catch Jesus out. Their Questions: “By what authority are You doing these things?” (v28a) “And who gave You authority to do this?” (v28b)
Rabbis could legitimately answer a question with a question and, on this occasion, that is exactly what Jesus did (11:29-30) Jesus had put them into a quandary (v31-32) They answered, “We don’t know” (v33a) Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things!” (v33b).
Jesus then told the gathered group The Parable of The Tenants. Read: Mark 12:1-12
It is clear to them what Jesus is saying and to whom He is referring.
The next group that tried to catch Jesus out with His words are the Pharisees and the Herodians. They asked, “Is it right to pay the Imperial Tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
Read: Mark 12:14b-17
This is a special Tax levied on “Subject Peoples,” not on Roman Citizens. Jesus’ reply, (v17b) “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
Then came the Sadducees. As a lecturer told us at Elim Bible College, and I never forgot this Truth – They did not believe in the Resurrection of the dead, that’s why they were Sad U Cee! They came to Jesus over the subject of, “Marriage at the Resurrection.”
Each of these Questions:-
- The Authority of Jesus.
- The Paying of the Imperial Tax to Caesar.
- Marriage at the Resurrection.
Were all issues that each of the debaters thought would catch Jesus out. But the next question, when Jesus answered it, led to the reaction (v34b) “From then on no one dared ask any more questions.
Sitting with Jesus: In The Arena of Debate (v28) “One of the Teachers of the Law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Answer One from Jesus, quoting The Sharma (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) “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.”
“Heart” = The central point of our being.
“Soul” = Emotions and Feelings.
“Mind” = Understanding.
“Strength” = Ability, Energy determined purpose.
How can we Express our Love for God?
- Be grateful for Who He is!
- Desire to know Him better!
- Live to please Him!
- Obey his commands!
- Tell Him!
- Live life as a Disciple of Jesus!
Answer Two from Jesus, (v30)
“The Second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself!”
Love is the Greatest!
Faith – Takes hold of God.
Hope – Accepts the Promises of God.
Love – Means giving our very Selves.
The Important factor is the necessity for self-love. “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Not in an egocentric way, not with pride or vanity. How can we love our neighbour if we cannot love ourselves?
Here are 3 Helps:-
Help 1: We can love our neighbour by remembering that it is a command of Jesus!
Help 2: We can love our neighbour by being a conduit, letting the Love of God flow into our lives then overflow into our neighbour. Receive God’s kind of love and passing that love on (AGAPE).
Help 3: We can love our neighbour by fulfilling Jesus’ Golden Rule. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
The man was impressed by Jesus (v32-33) “Well said, Teacher, You are right in saying that God is One and that 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 neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings.”
Jesus, hearing the man’s reply accepts, and states that, he is “not far from the Kingdom.” Jesus accepts that he has answered wisely. But the commitment is not quite there. Look carefully at his reply. A phrase is missing – “With all your soul.” He mentions “Heart, Head, Strength.” Jesus encourages him, having revealed The Truth to him. Embrace The King and come into The Kingdom.
(v34b) “And from then on no one dared to ask Him any more questions.” Why? Because the answer is always: Love!
The Key is always: Love!
Love for God. Love for Ourselves. Love for Others. Accepting this means that, Sitting With Jesus, the Arena of Debate turns into a deluge of God’s kind of Love – Agape!