Mark 12: The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12 includes what is known as the Greatest Commandment. It reads:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Simply put, love God, love others.

Interestingly, Jesus was not saying these words for the first time.

Jesus quotes twice from the Law of Moses. This was not only the teaching of Jesus, but the teaching of God’s law from the beginning of the Jewish nation. In other words, what Jesus said, God said. What God had said, Jesus affirmed.

This Judeo-Christian view of life may be found in part in other spiritual traditions, but love of God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and neighbor is the foundation for our Christian worldview. Our Christian view of God, furthered through our belief in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God, the Messiah, distinguishes Christianity from all other religions.

We are called to be known by our love for God and for others.

The question for each of us who follow Christ today is, “Are we?”


Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at

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