Sermon- Step In. The Water's Fine!, Mark 12:28 sermons -- Sunday Sermons preaching resources

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Step In. The Water's Fine!

Which is the first of all the commandments?
Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Psalm 18:2-4,47,51; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28-34

Sermon Week Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 12:28

Legend has it that back in the time of Jesus, a young divinity student went to the second most famous Rabbi in Jerusalem with a problem. He tells him that the 667 Old Testament laws are too confusing for him. "Can't you give me a summary of the law in the time that I can stand on one foot?" he asks. The Rabbi picks up a big stick and beats the young man with it before chasing him out of his study. The Rabbi considers the young man's question an act of impertinence. He has spent his whole life studying and interpreting these hundreds of laws, and it is an insult to be asked to summarize them so briefly. So, the young man decides to visit the number one Rabbi in Jerusalem and asks him the same question. The Rabbi says, "Stand on one foot." The young man obeys, and as he stands on one foot, the Rabbi says, "Do not do to anyone else what you would not have done to yourself. This is a summary of the law." With that, the Rabbi reduced the law into a negative "Golden Rule."

We turn now to the man in today's Gospel Lesson who goes to Jesus with this same request. And Jesus does not respond with the "Golden Rule," negative or positive. Instead, Jesus took one law from Deuteronomy and one law from Leviticus: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength ... You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mk. 12:30-31). On these two Commandments rests all the hundreds of laws. All the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount are simplified for us in the Commandment to love.

Former late-night host and comedian David Letterman once offered this tip to anyone planning a visit to New York City. He advised, "If you're planning to travel to the city, do yourself a favor — this is a lot of fun. Check into a Times Square hotel. Take the Bible out of [...]

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