One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,”Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, Teacher,” the scribe says to Jesus, who spoke of loving God and loving neighbor.
He was among the representatives sent by the Roman-backed Jewish priestly leaders to discredit Jesus after his symbolic attach on the temple. Mark describes the attempts by the scribes–scholars skilled in religious matters –to trap Jesus in chapters 11 and 12 of his gospel.
But this scribe is different. The familiar words he’s heard so often seem to touch his heart as Jesus speaks them. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s more important than the temple sacrifice and worship you’re working to maintain.
There’s no evidence that the scribe left everything to follow Jesus, but he’s told he’s ‘not far from the kingdom of God.” What became of him, we wonder?
We may not be far from the scribes, though. We lose sight of what’s important too. We get used to even the holiest things and defend ourselves with questions as they did.
Jesus engaged them, however. Will he not engage us this Lent, stirring our hearts, our souls, our minds, and renewing our strength with his truth?
Let me hear your voice, your unfamiliar voice– I don’t listen to you enough.
Though unseen, you are always with me,
Though unrecognized, you care for me and all the world.
Feed me with the best of wheat and honey from the rock,
As once you led your people out of Egypt,
Lead us to your truth.