One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"Mark 12:28(NASB)
From the beginning of His ministry to the day of His death, the controversy between the liberty of the gospel of God and the restrictive traditions of Judaism, raged.
As the day for Christ's betrayal and crucifixion drew ever closer, the various schools of Judaism conspired to indict the Lord Jesus under a civil or religious statute. They plotted together to make a prolonged attack on the Lord Jesus Christ, in an attempt to condemn Him to death, under Jewish or Roman law.
One group of legalists were the Sadducees, who were extremely liberal in their politics. They liked to rationalise everything and anything.. and despite Old Testament teachings on the bodily resurrection, they ridiculed the possibility of the resurrection of the dead. And so, one day, they tried to trick Jesus with an ill-considered argument about a hypothetical woman who married seven brothers, successively - each marriage following the death of the former brother. They demanded to know: "Whose wife would she be in the resurrection?"
Their aim was to make a mockery of the doctrine of the resurrection and to cause Jesus to appear foolish and uneducated. However, their deceitful and manipulative question was quickly overturned by Christ, Who exposed how shamefully ignorant they were of Old Testament Scriptures, and gave them a brilliant and biblically sound response. He exposed their lack of knowledge and impressed those who were listening to the ongoing debate - of His tremendous wisdom and His amazing grace.
One of the scribes overheard Christ's inspiring debate with these critical Sadducees, and was impressed with His knowledge and understanding of the law and the prophets. And he asked Jesus the long-debated question: "Of all the commandments, which command is the most important?"
Whether he was collaborating with Christ's critics, or desiring to receive an honest answer to this all-important question is unclear, but it gave the Lord Jesus a beautiful opportunity to reiterate the most important commandment that God had given to Israel, through Moses - a command which had been ignored and violated by these pious, legalistic, religious leaders - who had not only ignored God's message of repentance, but had also rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom He had sent.
The question that this earnest, young scribe asked the Lord Jesus, is a question that should be on the heart of all who have a reverential fear of God and a desire to do His will: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent."
Heavenly Father, the blindness of these religious zealots is so sad, because they missed the joy of being taught the truth by the incarnate Son of God. Keep me from spiritual blindness and foolish religiosity, and open my eyes to see the truth of Your Word. Open my ears as well, to hear the glorious gospel of God and reveal to me any legalistic biases I may have developed. I pray that I may love You with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, knowing that You gave Your only begotten Son to come to earth as the sacrifice for my sin - for which I offer my heartfelt thanks and everlasting praise to You, for You are a good and gracious God. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.