READ: Mark 12:18-44
THINK: The Bible is packed with practical instruction, guidelines and direct commands from God. All of these principles are aimed at revealing His character and principles, helping us to experience productive and fulfilling lives, and pointing us to our need for God. Taken individually, the vast number of guidelines in God's Word--though all for our good--might seem completely overwhelming. But Jesus summed up all of God's life instructions in two basic commands: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength," and "Love your neighbor as yourself." By following these two prime directives, God's people--with His help--will fulfill the requirements of God's perfect law.
RESPOND: In what ways did the Sadducees not understand the Scriptures or the power of God (v. 24)? What does it mean to love God with all your heart? all your soul? all your mind? all your strength? (See 12:30 note.) What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? In what ways do these two commands summarize and encompass all other commands? In what way did the one teacher of the law have a better understanding of Jesus and God's kingdom (vv 28-34)? Why did Jesus take so seriously the hypocrisy and insincerity of the teachers of the law, and why would they be judged severely (vv. 38-40)? In what way did the poor widow give much more than all of the rich people (vv. 41-44)? How does God measure the value of giving? (See 12:42 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you a greater understanding of what it means to love God with every aspect of your being, and to love others as yourself. Praise Jesus for His amazing love for you.
ACT: Find a way to use your strength or intellect to honor God. Perhaps you can volunteer for a chore at home or church. Maybe you could share a ministry idea with a leader, write a paper on a Christian theme or create a poem of worship to God for your journal. Also, do something for someone else that you would like them to do for you.
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