MAIN IDEA AND OUTLINE
The consistency of the narrative under discussion is clear for examining its place in the whole chapter. Mark 12:28-34 is a separate section dealing with Gods word that comes with the greatest commandment given to man. The main idea is the dramatic shift of the memorable day that Jesus answered the scribes by putting the questioner to silence as they hoped to wrangle, and dishonor the wisdom of Jesus, which brings the section to a close. The exegesis looks to examine the unusual episode and assess the meaning of the greatest commandment of God and the significance it has for Christians today.
Mark 12:28-34 is outlined based on the use of formulae and the narrative content.
1. The ascension and introduction (Mark 12:28)
A. The Contention and the Scribe Question
2. The Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:29-31)
A. Jesus Answer to the Scribe Question
3. The Scribe Wisdom (Mark 12:32-34)
a. General principle and application of the narrative.
As a strange episode, Mark 12:28-34 shows the act of being an obstacle to entering Gods kingdom. Gods word comes to life having the greatest commandment to man. The moment man overcomes sin, they draw nearer to God. The chapter serves as a masterpiece of the ideology, theology, and as the Chroniclers creative writing. The narrative has both a royal speech and authority and contains magnificent series of the manner in which biblical collocations and phrases are interpreted. The way in which Mark describes the interest of the scribes is vague. With many word and questions from the Scribes, Jesus must have been tiring. However, Jesus did not stoop low and instead answered well, laying groundwork for conflicts between Christians and Jews and between the Pharisees and scribes. With the heart, is the greatest sacrifice as a man should love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and You shall love your neighbor as yourself. With constant reference to Mark 12:28-34, the exegesis looks to examine the unusual episode and assess the greatest commandment to man and the significance it has for Christians today.
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving[a] that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Moreover, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[b] This is the first commandment. [c] 31 and the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.[d] There is no other commandment greater than these.
32 So the scribe said to Him, Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 Moreover, to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, [e]and with all the strength, and to love ones neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God.
However, after that, no one dared question Him.
THE HISTORICAL-CULTURAL AND LITERARY CONTEXT
Though there is no evidence of authorship, it is a unanimous testimony of the church that the Gospel was written by Mark. Mark is considered a close associate of Peter, who preached to the early Christians needs through the scriptures that were arranged by Peter and shaped by Mark. Some authors believe that Mark as a gospel was written in Galilee in 70AD after the Jews revolt. Unlike Luke and Mathew, Mark describes the genealogy of Jesus and establishes the authority and status of Jesus. The cultural perspective based on the gospel presents an honorable status similar to the status of Jesus. Mark gives the ability of Jesus to quote the scripture creatively demonstrating the sacred traditions. Such skills are highly admired, regarded and recognized in the gospel. The Gospel looks at the situation of the intended readers of the gospel and the reason and nature of persecution. The second part of the doctrine looks at the status of the intended readers of the gospel.
Setting the text in Mark 12:28-34 in its literary context assist in clarifying the dynamics in a particular periscope at play. In this context, the texts occur in a hostile setting that is surrounded by antagonism stories between different segments of the leadership of ancient Jewish and Jesus. The Herodians, Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes shuffle off and on the stage and try to antagonize or trap Jesus. However, one Scribe approaches Jesus after overhearing a dispute that Jesus answered well. Jesus did not give a direct answer, He answered cryptically or answered ambiguously. It is not clear if Jesus answer was right or His crafty ability to parry the trust of His opponents. The scribe and reply summarize the two laws provided by Jesus that the two laws are better than the sacrifices and offerings. The gospel says that the Scribe had answered wisely and intelligently. Mark conclude the story by saying Gods kingdom is not far from the scribe.
The Contention and the Scribe Question
The incident in the gospel takes place in the Gospel of Mark 12:28-34 where Jesus is in opposition to Israels religious leaders. The leaders looked to reject Jesus ministry and sought to find fault to discount His teaching and ministry. Jesus, came to earth to provide salvation, was in their midst, an individual who provide salvation and give life significance, purpose, and meaning. However, there was opposition as Satan was working to turn people away from God. One of the Scribes in the law came to Jesus after he realized Jesus was answering well the questions from the questioners. The scribe asked Jesus, Which commandment is the most important of all? This was a contention matter that had always been under debate by the religious leaders. The Pharisees had imposed particular laws as an obligation to the Israelites, yet they offered no help, hope or love to encourage the people to be obedient. There were no grace or mercy but the only the legalism chains that had always killed peoples joy instead uniting Gods people. Thus, Mark 12:28-34 gave the Israelites the perspective of life, as the goal and heart of the scripture, it guides them in through the treacherous and dark waters of life.
Jesus Answer to the Scribe Question
Jesus answered, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Moreover, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[b] This is the first commandment and the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself? There is no other commandment greater than these. Jesus did not stoop low and instead answered well, laying a groundwork for conflicts between Christians and Jews and between the Pharisees and scribes The question from the scribe assumes that there are commandments with more weight, but Jesus answered with a version of Shema from Leviticus 19:18 (You shall love your neighbor as yourself) and Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (with all your mind).
The Scribe Wisdom
The Scribe broke the pattern of the text as he is on the wisdom and wit of Jesus after seeing that Jesus answers well. The beauty of these texts is the manner in which the Scribe translates them in the words of the law. This gives contrast to the assessment of the answers of Jesus as good. The Scribe summarizes the laws given by Jesus by adding that "this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." Jesus recognizes the Wisdom of the scribe and commends him that he is not far from Gods kingdom. The question from the scribe that prioritizes the commandments fit comfortably with Judaism segments that the Pharisees are known to involve in. The scribe was keeping the days methods as the people engage in the tradition of the Jewish people. The manner in which Jesus embraced the Jewish tradition repudiates it as He deems inner disposition as mere essential than the outward disposition that shows religiosity. Marks model therefore prioritizes and reads the tradition based on two simple but also impossible principle: God and neighbor.
The narrative under discussion describe events that happened in the eighth century, and the post-exilic people are the ones who got the final form of the narrative. The particular focus is on the Gospel of Mark 12:28-34. The encounters of Herodians, political sympathizers, Sadducees and Pharisees with Jesus at a loss of entrapping Jesus. However, Jesus silenced them, and they dared not to ask further questions. The scribe is the only individual who breaks the text pattern because he is in wisdom and wit of Jesus. The scribe summarize the two laws provided by Jesus that the two laws are better than the sacrifices and offerings. Jesus identifies the Wisdom of the Scribe and encourages and commends him by stating that he is not far from Gods kingdom. The gospel says that the Scribe had answered wisely and intelligently. Mark conclude the story by saying Gods kingdom is not far from the scribe.
The principle in this narrative is that true love and obedience to God are based on the right knowledge of God, and whenever people try to approach God based on their ritual requirements and knowledge of the law commandments having more weight, they show clearly that they do not respect the holiness in the presence of God. Misinterpreting the awareness of the law commandments may disqualify us from the good intentions God has for us. Nobody can keep Gods commandments and love God when He/she is not occupied or acquainted with Gods divine essence. Christians need to be careful to listen to the message of the scripture.
To apply the general principle today in this narrative, the church setting as a redeemed community give an appropriate chance that is parallel to the setting of Mark 12:28-34. The passage is an essential and powerful reminder to Christians about Gods holiness and the need to see the true love and obedience for God to equip us in serving Him in a better way. Devotees who do not appreciate this fact may not get what God has in store for them.
Besides, the narrative emphasizes the responsibility that we love as God loves. Gods love comes first, and love for our neighbor is based on Gods love. When Christians know God, they hope and believe in his promises. The themes of encouragement and divine warning still resound in our society today. The Pharisees honored Gods commandment but ignored the greatest of all. Yahweh has been faithful for centuries for individuals who have to seek his guidance and lifted their cries. The narrative is an exhaustible source of all ages for believers by exhausting people from the mistakes and errors that the people of God made in the past and would not be repeated in us.
Beresford, Mark. 2012. Closing In on Gods Kingdom: A Reflection on Mark 12:28-34. November 7. Accessed June 28, 2016. https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=454.
Brian K. Blount, Cain Hope Felder, Clarice J. Martin, and Emerson B. Powery, eds. True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press (2007)
Cline, Austine. 2009. Analysis and Commentary on Mark 12:28-34. Accessed June 29, 2016. http://atheism.about.com/od/biblegospelofmark/a/mark12d_2.htm.
Deryn Guest, Robert Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache, eds. Queer Bible Commentary. Lo...
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