Let’s think about this verse today:
And when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they themselves gathered together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with a question: “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” (Matthew 22:34-36).
This lawyer was an expert not in civil law, but in religious law. By that time of Jesus’ incarnation, there had been added to the original ten, 603 laws. The Jews were laboring under a heavy yoke of an expectation to keep 613 laws.
Here is a website with which I’m not familiar, but lists a simple version of all 613 laws with their scripture.
The 613 laws of the Old Testament (Called the Mitzvot)
If you take a quick glance down the list you see the issue. Anyway, we remember in the New Testament that the Rich Young Ruler thought he kept all the laws perfectly since childhood. This Lawyer standing in front of Jesus thought he was something else, as well.
As I heard on a sermon this morning by RC Sproul, the lawyer questioning Jesus on the Law was standing in front of the only Person who ever kept it perfectly.
Let that sink in for a moment. Picture the scene.
Its truth should ignite in us a fervor of love for this perfect Savior. We can read all the verses in scripture and ponder the attributes of Jesus, the God With Us.
In mythology, the gods were creatures made up by man’s imagination, who could not control their lusts and emotions. When they came to earth they plundered humans and used them. If you read Greek or Roman mythology you see that they were no better than man, and usually a lot worse. The made up mythological gods were reflective of the worst of man. These false gods’ sinful attitudes and actions were mirrors of man’s.
Yet we see Jesus, the One True God, departing glory to live as a man-God for 33 years. We see Jesus, standing before the Lawyer, in all dignity. In all humility. The Author of the Law, the living embodiment of the Law, stood in front of the Lawyer, who was testing Him on the Law. In response, Jesus answered simply.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
I hope that small scene, showing Jesus in dignity and majesty, love and patience, makes you love Him even more.