Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:32-33)
Pastor John’s Notes:
Christians often get locked in a cycle of sin, sorrow, repentance, and return to sin. How often have you gone through the process of grieving for your sins, calling out to God for forgiveness, promising to do better, and in a few short days or even hours, finding yourself falling back into the same old pattern? While God is kind and gracious and forgives us every time we repent, even numerous times in a day, God does not want his children to remain locked in cycles of disobedience. He wants to set us free.
The Jewish people had a system of sacrifice by which their sins were forgiven. Each day, day after day, sacrifices were offered on the altar of the temple for the sins of the people. Each year, year after year, the people of God came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices for their sins. It was a never-ending cycle, unless of course, one chose to obey. If one were to obey, then sacrifices would not be necessary. The scribe that asked Jesus the question saw the wisdom of his answer. The love of God leads us to obedience, and obedience leads us to freedom.
Dear Lord, set me free from the chains of sin and disobedience. Teach me to no longer love the evils of this world, but let me love you with my whole heart. Let my love for you deliver me from the endless cycle of feeble repentance. Let the love of God become my new ruling principle, and lead me forward into freedom.