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by davesandel on March 16th, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012
Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Mark 12:29-31
A scribe asked, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” And Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
“And the second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Professor Scot McKnight calls this the “Jesus Creed.”  When Jesus combined the Jewish commandments from Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19 into one law, he spread the wings of Yahweh over the people.  No wonder Jesus called his God Abba.  He knew the love and protection of God just like that of a daddy.

The scribe appreciated this new vision, and Jesus told him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” –  it remains only to put into practice what you preach.  But later in Mark, Jesus points out that the “long robes” do exactly the opposite: “They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.”

Jesus’ brother James said the same thing.  When your brother or sister comes to you starving and in rags, do not tell him, “Be warm and fed.”  Warm him!  Feed her!  This is a real person, a real brother, a real sister.  Just as real as you are.  God does not spend his time away in heaven; He is here in your face, looking for all the world like a very hungry person.

Professor McKnight asks a great question: “What was spiritual formation like during the time of Jesus?”  Christians didn’t sing in the choir or go to Bible studies.  What did they do?

Here’s what they did.  This is straight from the book of Acts.  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common.”

They followed the Jesus Creed.  The Nicean Creed is what we believe.  The Jesus Creed is what we do.

Jesus, how can I avoid the hypocrisy and sense of entitlement that seems to come so easily in the rush of religious righteousness?  Put my money where my mouth is.  You give freely to me, let me freely give.  There is nothing in another that is not in me, neither goodness nor sin.  O Lord, your face is everywhere I look; just let me see you.

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