what do you think?

Jesus wasn’t very good at math.

“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?” The most important one,” answered Jesus, “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.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

So, the guy asks for one law, and Jesus gives him two. Sometimes I don’t understand how the guy could let Jesus get away with giving him these laws (plural) when he asked for the most important (singular) one. I think I probably would have spoken up if I were there:

“Jesus, I just asked what’s the most important thing to God. Not what the most important two things are. Help me out here.”

“I told you, that is the most important thing. Love God and love people.”

“But, isn’t loving God more important? By the way, why are you speaking with a British accent?”

“It doesn’t work that way, and I only talk that way when I’m acting in movies. Sometimes I don’t even blink.”

“Ok, fine. But, if you had to choose what’s more important, which one would it be?”

I guess there’s bound to be some communication problems when a North American Christian living in the 21st century interacts with a 1st century Middle Eastern man. I think much differently. Why do we continually take the words and deeds of Jesus and put them in the context of our affluent and individualistic lives?

Jesus was completely incapable of separating the two commandments, yet we continue to elevate one above the other. I wonder why we think we have to separate them, and am still trying to understand exactly what happens (to our relationship with God and other people) when we do.

Lately, I’ve been trying to understand why we think the way we think, and how the way we as North American Christians have been taught to think affects our understanding of God and our outward expressions of our belief in Him. Quite a complex sentence and subject, I know, but just think about it!

(the stoic Jesus pictured above is from the movie Jesus of Nazareth. Watch it sometime and count how many times Jesus blinks.)

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4 responses to “what do you think?

  1. Not only was Jesus not good at math, but not very good with Language Arts. Not that I’m perfect, but he used a lot of “and all your”s in that statement. Back to back to back, even.

    Plus, Jesus was really tricky. I’ve seen it myself. My mom has a Jesus statue with his arms out in front showing his bleeding palms and his sleeves hanging down, just so you knew that he didn’t have anything up his sleeves. But he does. Jesus always has something up his sleeves.

    Seriously, though, I’ve long since been bewildered by Jesus’ utter unwillingness to divide the importance of loving God and people when given a golden opportunity to do so. He could have said anything in the world was the most important commandment, but he chose two things and they were a virtual tie. Two things instead of one thing.

    Two verse one beats.

  2. The two are connected by the fact that we are made in the image of God, and therefore cannot be separated.
    Our American culture doesn’t lend itself to the theology of scripture, because we are brought up in a spirit of independence. As Christians, we need to be dependant on the Father and the work of His Son and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  3. Great thoughts and comments –
    I just finished reading a fiction book by James Mitchner called “The Source” about the history of the Land of Irael and its people. It was very internesting. Even though it was fiction, the author does a lot of research so some of the stuff he says I think is pretty right on. A comment one of the character makes about the difference between Jews and Christians is that the Jewish religion tries to answer the question, “How does man live with each other.” The Christian faith alters the view point to make it more personal and tries to answer the question, “How does man live with God.”

    With that new distinction, I can see how our Faith has become too personal. We look for our own “quiet time” or “Divotion.” Worship has to be personal with eys closed and not with others. We feel that we can share our faith because it’s mine and not “ours”

    I’m trying to learn how to do this Christian thing with others and try to asnwer the question, “How do we live with God with others?”

  4. Freakin’ A, Phil. By George, I think you’re onto something….

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