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Sunday 1st November,2015 The Bulletin Insert The First Commandment

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert – Sunday 1st November 2015, All Saints

The First Commandments Isa 25:6-9, Rev 21:1-6a, Mark 12:28-34, John 11:30-44

Jesus is now in Jerusalem. A Scribe, a person specially trained in the niceties of the Law, asks which is the first of all the commandments? There was much discussion among first century Jewish scholars concerning some single law which encapsulates all the laws. Jesus responds without hesitation. There are two commandments which are, in the end one: love of God and neighbor.

His words, which ring true to those of us accustomed to the Christian tradition, are not original to Jesus. He takes his response from the Law of Israel. The first commandment, that we must love the one and only Lord and God with our whole being comes from the book of Deuteronomy. It is a cornerstone of the Jewish faith to this day. Similarly, the second, that we must love our neighbor as ourselves, is found in the book of Leviticus.

The uniqueness which Jesus brings to these two fundamental aspects of Jewish life and faith is that he links them. Thus the response of the Scribes shows that he now sees there are not two commandments but one. God calls us to love of one another which shows how much we are aware of his love for us. It is easy to go through certain rituals which can say through external signs that we love and serve God. It is much more difficult to live the life which proclaims that truth.

Jesus incarnates the love of God and neighbor. He not only tells us, but he shows us. We will not enter the kingdom through the correct observations of all the externals of the Christian tradition. The kingdom is ours when we love our neighbor in a way which shows how much we are prepared to measure our lives by the words and lifestyle of Jesus.                                                                   (Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year B, by Francis J. Moloney, p 196-7).

Mark 12:28-34 28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall 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, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared ask him any questions.

Rev 21:1-6a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

John 11:30-44 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”