Mark 12:28-37 | Discussion Questions

MARK 12:28-37

Preached at SoBo on September 4, NM on September 11, 2022


  • PRAYER: Begin your time in prayer, asking the Father to pour out His Spirit upon you so that you can see the Son, Jesus Christ, more clearly.
  • SNAPSHOT: This week’s text is Mark 12:28-37. In these two scenes, Jesus is in the Jerusalem Temple teaching about the Kingdom and disputing with the religious leaders. Specifically, in these two episodes, Jesus references two texts from the Jewish Scriptures. First, he cites Deuteronomy 6:5 to explain that love for God is the greatest commandment in the Law. Then, in the next episode, he cites Psalm 110:1 to reveal his nature as the Divine Messiah of Israel. Which means that he is the object of the greatest commandment.
  • CONTEXT: We are in the final week of Jesus’ life. 
    • On Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey, while large crowds laid down palm branches and hailed him as the Messiah (11:9-10). 
    • On Monday, Jesus cursed a fruitless fig tree (a symbol of fruitless Israel), and then he entered the Jerusalem temple and drove the money changers, who perverted the worship of God (11:12-19). 
    • On Tuesday, Jesus entered the temple again and began to expose that Israel, like the fig tree he cursed the day before, had become barren and dead. On this Tuesday, Jesus enters into several disputes with the religious leaders, showing them to be insincere, hypocritical, misguided, and spiritually dead. Ultimately, Jesus’ day in the temple ended with a prediction of the temple’s destruction (11:27-13-37). Our text below takes place on Tuesday.
    • On Thursday, Jesus eats the last supper with his disciples, prays in the garden of Gethsemane, is betrayed by Judas, and is arrested by Jewish authorities.
    • On Friday, Jesus is crucified.


MARK 12:28-37
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And 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 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 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, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.


  • Begin by simply examining the text together. What do you notice? What stands out? What is unexpected? How do the two accounts relate to each other? How do they relate to what came before and after in the gospel of Mark? What does Jesus say about us, himself, God, the world, etc.? 1
  • In the first episode, Jesus makes it clear that the greatest commandment in the Law is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 
    • What do you think about the idea that some parts of the Bible are “greater” or more important than other parts of the Bible?
    • How do we affirm with Paul that “all scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16) but also affirm with Jesus that some parts of scripture are “weightier” (Matt 23:23)?
    • How do you discern which parts of scripture are weightier?
  • What do you think it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Why?
  • In the second episode, Jesus cites Psalm 110:1 to show that he is not only the descendant of King David according to the flesh (c.f Matt 1:1; Rom 1:3) but also David’s Divine Lord. How does Jesus’ affirmation that he is Divine inform our understanding of the greatest commandment?


Close your eyes and take a moment to reflect on the following areas of your life. Where do you sense the Holy Spirit is calling you into a deeper love for God?
  • Words – Are your words filled with truth, love, and gratitude to God, or are they filled with complaining, grumbling, gossip, and negativity?
  • Money – Does your use of money display that God is your greatest treasure and his Kingdom is your greatest desire or does it more display that something else is your greatest treasure and another kingdom is your greatest desire?
  • Thoughts – Does your thought life reflect a supreme love for God? Do you give more time to thinking about God or what new thing or experience you want?
  • Communion – Does God get a significant portion of your time each day just to be with him?
  • Technology – Does your use of technology reveal a heart that loves God above all things?
  • What did God show you about your heart? 
  • What lies or habits might be at the root of this area where you sense a lack of love for Jesus?
  • What truths and new habits do you sense would lead to a more profound love for Jesus in this area of your life?


Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you wholeheartedly; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God, have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in eternal life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Example observations:
  • The man was a scribe. What is a scribe? Answer: a teacher of the Jewish Law
  • Jesus says that some commandments are more important than others
  • Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, the Shema, to answer the Scribe’s question.
  • What does it mean that God is one?
  • The Shema mentions four parts of man: heart, soul, mind, strength. What does this mean? Are these four distinct parts of man, or simply a way to describe the totality of our being?
  • The scribe agrees with Jesus’ teaching
  • The scribe is not far from the Kingdom. What does that mean?
  • Jesus seems to contrast this scribe with the religious leaders who were arguing with him.
  • In the first episode, Jesus commends a scribe who understands the Law rightly. In the second episode, Jesus exposes the way scribes have misread the Scriptures.
  • In the second episode, Jesus shows that the long-expected Messiah (the Christ) is both David’s son (i.e. he’s a descendant of David) and David’s Lord (i.e. he is seated at the right hand of YAHWEH.