One of their experts in the law asks Jesus what the greatest commandment in the law is. He responds that Deuteronomy 6:5 is the greatest commandment, and then goes on to say that Leviticus 19:18 is like it. The reason that these are the greatest is that all other laws are applications of these two laws of love. The expert agrees, and even says that these laws are “more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Jesus tells the lawyer that he is very close to God. Why? Because too often the people trusted in works (like following the sacrificial system) to make them right with God. Works are never a sacrifice for heart, and God wants us to have a love relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. This relationship leads to works, but it is a consequence of our relationship, not a prerequisite for that relationship!
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his creative work, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.”
Mark says that they stop questioning Him at this point, but Jesus has a question for them based on Psalm 110 (which is the Old Testament chapter the New Testament quotes the most). When Jesus is in the temple courts He asks them if they really believe that the Messiah is the son of David, and then asks how it’s possible that David could call him Lord. Jesus shows them that their understanding is flawed regarding both the Messiah (who was in existence before David), and the nature of God (there is a plurality in the Godhead). The crowd is delighted that He flummoxed the leadership!
Jesus also says that when David wrote Psalm 110 that he was led by the Spirit. That reminds us of the fundamental nature of God’s Word. It is inspired by God. It is given by the Spirit. That’s why we can trust it!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.”
2 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination,for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
Jesus goes on to remind them that the inside is more important than the outside, and He uses the religious leadership as an example. They do all kinds of things to look righteous and godly, but actually devour widows property. Don’t be like them! Be like the widow with her offering instead! Do your good deeds quietly, without fanfare, but with your whole heart.