The Greatest Command

As a modern reader of Mark 12 we may miss the common language presented by the scribe at the end of the chapter. Most likely, this scribe is a man of influence. The text tells us he is impressed with Jesus. This scribe watched while the Pharisees and Sadducees have battered Jesus with hard questions. As a scribe, we can assume this man was well educated in the law. As a legal professional he would have studied the various points of view maintaining a professional freedom to navigate between major camps of thought. This made him an ideal candidate for the final challenge Mark records in chapter 12. The Pharisees and Sadducees came up short. Maybe this legal expert could prove once and for all that Jesus was not who He claimed to be. Throughout the scribal tradition, they regularly challenged one another to find a guiding principle for the 613 laws established by Moses in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures. The man comes with a favorable attitude toward Jesus; he found Jesus’ answers were satisfying. They weren’t simply clever but were wholesome answers that satisfied the questions. The question, and his attitude, proved to the crowds that this man was close to the Kingdom of God.