Highlights In Today's Reading:
Jesus skillfully deals with the Herodians (12:13-17), Sadducees (12:18-27), and Pharisees (12:28-44). We are to watch and pray (13:33).
When questioned by a scribe (a skilled interpreter of the Law) as to what was the greatest Commandment, Jesus answered him, The first of all the Commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is One Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (12:29-30). This eternal truth was expressed in Moses' key message: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children (Deut. 6:4-7).
The Hebrew word "Elohenu" is translated into English as our God. However, God chose to use the plural form "Elohim," literally meaning Gods, 2,500 times in reference to Himself as the Self-Existent, One True God. This, then, is what the sacred proclamation says: Hear, O Israel: the Lord our Gods (Elohim), is One (echad) Lord. The Hebrew word for One is also a solemn declaration that the Lord is a plurality in unity. One (echad) is a word which expresses "one" in the collective sense. It signifies a compound unity — not an absolute singleness. For example, God said: Man . . . and . . . wife . . . shall be one (echad) flesh (Gen. 2:24). Even with numerous children, they are still called one family. The one Tabernacle (Ex. 36:13) included many individual parts; and many soldiers become one troop (II Sam. 2:25). There is a Hebrew word (yacheed) for one in the sense of an absolute singleness; but it is never used to express the Godhead, although it is used elsewhere in Scripture.
This truth exposes the tragedy of all who reject Jesus as God — the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17; Titus 2:13) who has revealed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: I and My Father are One (John 10:30; 5:18; 12:45; 14:9-11,20). There are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (Spirit): and these Three are One (I John 5:7).
It is of utmost importance that we evaluate our love for God in the light of the unity for which our Lord prayed that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me (John 17:21).
Thought for Today:
The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders (Deut. 33:12).
12:1 let it out =rented it; 12:17 Render to Caesar =pay Caesar what belongs to him; 12:34 durst ask =dared question; 12:42 two mites = farthing (a penny).
For Mark 12:1: See Is. 5:2. Mark 12:10-11: See Ps. 118:22-23. Mark 12:19: See Deut. 25:5. Mark 12:26: See Ex. 3:3-6. Mark 12:29: See Deut. 6:4. Mark 12:30: See Deut. 6:5. Mark 12:31: See Lev. 19:18. Mark 12:32: See Deut. 4:35. Mark 12:33: See Deut. 6:5; Hos. 6:6. Mark 12:36: See Ps. 110:1. Mark 13:14: See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Mark 13:24: See Is. 13:10. Mark 13:26: See Dan. 7:13. Mark 13:27: See Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week in honor of Jane Hill • Country: Guinea (8 million) on the Atlantic coast of western Africa • Major languages: French and tribal languages • Freedom for nationals, but strict limitations on missionaries • 83% Muslim; 12% tribal religions; 4% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers should be lifted up with confidence in God (Ps. 56:9,11).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:19