Mark 12:28-34

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Verses 28-34

In chapter 11 we saw the chief priests, scribes and elders challenge Jesus authority after He overturned the tables and drove out all those who bought and sold in the Temple. . Then we saw the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus with the question about paying taxes to Caesar, then the Sadducees came to try and discredit the resurrection with their ridiculous question about the 7 brothers all marrying the same wife without any having children asking who’s wife she would be in the resurrection.
Now a scribe (expert in the OT Law) jumps in on the questioning of Jesus.
It seems like an innocent enough question and the scribe appears to be sincere.
It’s important to know that the Jews had added up the commands in the law and came up with 613 commandments (365 were negative & 248 were positive) that they then organized from the greatest importance to the least importance. And these 613 were further divided into types of commands like ethical, ritual, moral, etc.
The word “which” (poia in the Greek) is used here.
Poia = of what sort
So really the question the scribe is asking Jesus is which type of command (moral, ethical, ritual) is the greatest priority to follow.
Jesus of course is the One with perfect knowledge and will answer perfectly.
Notice how Jesus answers the heart of the question along with the question as He always does.
The answer isn’t any one command, but rather the heart of the law giver. You see what God desires is a changed heart more than a certain command from the law, so Jesus answers accordingly. The answer for us is the same as the motivation of the law giver Himself. One word - Love
That we are to be so radically changed that we would stop being selfish rebellious brats that only care about our fleshly desires, and we would come to the humble position of loving God supremely, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
This comes from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It was then and is still today recited by religious Jews every day. It is said that the scribes had a tiny scroll with this written on it that they kept in their phylactery. The phylactery if you remember was a small box that they wore on either their forehead or arm. Back then they were made of parchment, but today are made of leather.
So when Jesus answers with Deuteronomy 6:4-5 it was something that was not only familiar to the scribes, but was a scripture they considered to be one of the most important. That doesn’t mean that they understood it though, it just means they held it as important...
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 ESV
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
BTW love is agape not phileo
This is what’s known as the Shema in Hebrew. The name comes from the word we translate as "hear" in English which is Shema in Hebrew. The command that’s given here in Deuteronomy is very important and clarifying. And it’s important because of who God is...
The Lord is one: This separates our God from every other lying pagan god and idol trying to steal our devotion away from God.
One (echad) - the word speaks of a compound unity. It’s first usage is found in the creation story...
Genesis 1:5 ESV
5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
or as the CSB has it...
Genesis 1:5 (CSB)
5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day.
This same word (echad) is used by God to describe marriage
Genesis 2:24 ESV
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Not only did God use the word echad to describe Himself through Moses to the people as a compound plural but even more the very name used here does the same. The Lord (YHWH) our God (Elohim) the Lord (YHWH) is one (echad)
We know that YHWH is the proper name of God as given to Moses in Exodus 3 while God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, so there is no question as to who we are talking about. But what about this word used for God (Elohim)?
This is another interesting word!
El is the singular form of God and typically is a root word used when talking about God’s certain attributes
Eloah is a derivative of El and used in more modern writings, and some scholars believe it is a dual form of the word El.
Elohim is the masculine plural (Plural means more than 2 ((dual means 2)) ) form of Eloah
The word here in this chapter is Elohim, and while it is plural in meaning it is used in singular form.
You know why?!?!?!?
Because God exists as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The 3 are 1 and are in perfect unity at all times and for all of time even outside of time.
Even the Greek word Theos used in the NT references God as a plurality yet is used in a singular form.
Now that we have that worked out, let’s look at what the command is in regards YHWH who is Elohim and is echad...
The command is not to only serve outwardly, but to love completely. God is far more concerned with the servant than He is their service. He is calling for much more than having a devotional time in the morning, He is seeking after our total devotion to Him out of our love for Him. This seems reasonable since we know who He is doesn’t it?
So loving God supremely and loving your neighbor as you love yourself is really the basis for the 10 Commandments 4 of which deal with mankind's relationship to God and the other 6 dealing with mankind relationship with our fellow man, and the 10 Commandments is the basis for the 613 commands that the lawyers knew and studied.
Now Jesus asks them a question...

Verses 35-37

Jesus is asking the question "Do you know who I really am?”
Matthew 22 gives us a bit more detail...
Matthew 22:41–46 ESV
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet” ’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Essentially Jesus is asking them to make up their minds about who they think He is and make confession as to who they think He is, just as He had asked His disciples earlier at Ceasaria Philippi "Who do you say that I am"
But notice that Jesus gives them the answer of who He is as He asks them.
He plainly asks who’s Son is the Christ (Messiah)?
To understand this we need to define some words...
Christ is the English word for the Greek christos, (Anointed One) which is itself the translation of the Hebrew word we translate as Messiah.
Messiah = the future king of Israel who will sit eternally on the throne of King David
son = a descendent
Lord = master, one who has power over another.
But Lord also is a title or attribute of Jehovah and therefore speaks of the deity of God.
Remember all those veiled and baited questions intended to trap Jesus that have all fallen flat as Jesus perfectly answered them?
Here, Jesus is doing just the opposite. He isn’t trying to bait and switch them, or hide the answer under a veil, nor is He trying to trap them. Instead Jesus is intending to clearly give them the answer to His own question so that they might be set free not placed in a trap.
Their answer to who is the Christ is technically although only partially correct.
The Son of David is a Messianic title that goes back to the covenant promise that God made to King David back in 2 Samuel 7 where God said...
2 Samuel 7:16 ESV
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
Now just incase you may have forgotten, both gospel linages show that Jesus is from the lineage of King David. When the angel Gabriel spoke to Marry he told her...
Luke 1:31–33 ESV
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Yes the Christ (Jesus the Messiah) was from the lineage of David and thus was the Son of David. But Jesus the Christ was much much greater than just the Son of David, because He was in fact the Lord of King David as well!
The idea of David or any Jewish man calling his own offspring Lord was completely unheard of. No child was lord over his own father or grandfather.
You see Jesus is making it clear to them that He is both man and God. This was something that the Jewish leaders rejected, and this proclamation by Jesus was something had already infuriated the Jews and the reason they had already decided to put Him to death earlier...
John 5:18 ESV
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Again, look at what Jesus says...
Jesus is quoting Psalm 110:1 which is the most quoted Psalm in the NT.
Psalm 110:1 ESV
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The way Psalm 110 is written is
Yahweh or Jehovah said to my Adonai =
The God of Israel said to my Master or Messiah…
Yahweh or Jehovah is the proper name of the one true and living God given to Moses at the burning bush also known as I AM, which is never spoken by the Jews. As a matter of fact the proper pronunciation is not actually known because the Jewish scribes have not written the vowels out in so long. We know it today as YHWH or also referred to as the tetragrammaton.
The question in verse 37 is simple -
How can the Messiah be David’s divine Lord and David’s Son at the same time?
[The Jewish religious leaders in that day identified Psalm 110 as a prophetic psalm and said that David was speaking of the Messiah. But if the Messiah is David’s Lord, how can He be David’s son? Here was an enigma for them to solve!
The only explanation is that Messiah must be both God and man. As eternal God, Messiah is David’s Lord, but as man, He is David’s son (Weirsbe)].
When Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 He makes it about Himself. When He makes it about Himself, He is clearly saying that He is Israel’s promised Messiah. He leaves no room for misunderstanding by doing this.
At the end of the book of Revelation Jesus says about Himself...
Revelation 22:16 ESV
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
But the religious leaders can’t receive the message because they have already decided that they won’t receive this message. They hardened their hearts to the point of losing the ability to believe.
May we never respond to Jesus like those hard hearted religious leaders.
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