The Context of today’s Reading.
Jesus is in a question and answer fight with both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Firstly, the Sadducees. Jesus is the first Rabbi in the history of the world to find proof from the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) of the Resurrection and eternal life. The Sadducees did not believe in this (And that is sad you see !!!!!). He quotes the words of Yahweh that He is the God of Abraham……the God of the living, not of the dead. This argument silenced the Sadducees. Now the Pharisees are awaiting their chance.
Their challenge is to ask about the greatest commandment. The signature of any Rabbi’s teaching is which Commandment (of over 600) is the greatest. There were so many opinions that they considered Jesus to be in an impossible situation. How can you say one commandment is more important than another?
Jesus’ answer is brilliant. He quotes the prayer that they all say (even to this day) many times every day. The prayer from Deuteronomy 6: “Listen Israel: Yahweh our God is the one Yahweh. You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart………” This prayer is said at their going down and their rising….fastened on their hands and their foreheads and doorposts of their houses and their gates.
And the second is like the first. (Leviticus 19:18) On these two commandments hangs the whole Law and the prophets, The Law is the Torah, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible and the Prophets is the section of our Scripture from Isaiah to Malachi.
Jesus uses the Scripture to answer the questions of both the Sadducees and the Pharisees. His answer is LOVE. Love God and love one another.