Mark 12:28-34 Love Commandments For His True Children.
There is a convention, even in reformed circles, that when one speaks of the commandments that one is referring always to the Decalogue – the ten commandments. Some would even suggest that they somehow carry more authority than the rest of scripture, like Jesus words printed with red ink. However, in answering the question of the scribe – “Which is the first commandment of all?” (v. 28), Jesus did not turn to the Decalogue, but to the other writings through Moses. What Jesus quoted as the first commandment is found in Deuteronomy – a document of covenant renewal. So even though the Decalogue is repeated in this book, Jesus went to the books own summary, found in those words immediately following the Decalogue (v 29; 6:4-6 Cf. 1:18-20), which he combined with words a bit later (v. 30; 10:12), and much later (30:6), which amplified the first.
There is but one God. No doubt from the fall onward there have been and continue to be many man-made religions, but there has only ever been one God the Creator of all things, and the Redeemer of his elect (Cf. I Cor. 8:4-6). The keeping of all his commandments flowed and continues to flow out of this one chief reality – whether one is in a right relationship with this one and only God. Keeping all of his commandments is not the basis of the relationship – God’s sovereign will establishes that. Keeping all the commandments is evidence of a love returned (Dt. 10:13). As Moses’ writing came to a close he left this reminder that, it is the LORD alone who can circumcise a person’s heart – “to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (30:6). The prophets Jeremiah 32:39, Ezekiel 11:19 and others (Mic. 6:8), all reiterated the same fundamental truth.
The second commandment is like the first in that it is a command to love. The first commandment places the priority on the one and only God. Then the second directs us to love our neighbour, which all the other commandments and writings of holy scripture are but the expression of these two. So also with this second commandment, Jesus was not saying anything new, but rather he was again reiterating what had come through the first human author, moved by the Holy Spirit, namely Moses at Leviticus 19:18 (v. 31). These approaches by individuals to Jesus have a different flavor than those of the apostates in league with each other against the Christ. Although this scribe still appears to regard Jesus only as a Teacher, as do many still today, he nevertheless had a proper respect for his understanding of holy scripture (vv. 32-33a).
In fact, this scribe understood that these commandments reiterated by Jesus, were of greater importance than the ceremonial legislation. The latter, whether this scribe understood it at this time or not, would come to an end with the once and for all sacrifice of Christ himself – his finished work. This scribe in fact affirmed that which immediately preceded the Decalogue as its true motivation, namely what we find at Deuteronomy 4:39 – “Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” Furthermore, this scribe understood that the sacrificial system in and of itself never was intended to actually be a meritorious system (v. 33 b Cf. Hos. 6:6). However, the fact that this scribe had not acknowledged Jesus as more than a teacher meant he was not far from the kingdom, but he also wasn’t in it (v. 34).