And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark 12:33 (KJV).
What Does Mark 12:33 Mean?
If you’re wondering what Mark 12:33 means, you may want to look to Mark 12:28. One of the teachers of the law had asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Now, we can only imagine what the teacher thought Jesus was going to say. Maybe even some people in the crowd believed Jesus was going to provide an answer in alignment with one of the ten commandments. Can you imagine what that was like back then when Jesus answered something very, very different from what was expected?
Could you imagine what it would be like to have Jesus here today, and for Him to provide an answer very different from what we expect based on our knowledge and understanding of the New Testament? WOAH!
This was a BIG deal…
On top of that, the teacher of the law agrees with Jesus in 12:33, stating that loving God and your neighbor is worth more than all the burnt offerings. Now, this is amazing! Here’s a teacher of the law, who in those ancient times, would have been advocating for a major component of Jewish ritual, which was the offering of Karbanot, and he’s agreeing with Jesus that love is more important than Karbanot. To which Jesus says, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
So this may be a good question to ourselves as well. How much of our belief revolves around us going to church or other rituals and how much do we devote ourselves to loving God with all our heart, all our understanding, all our strength and all our soul? How far are we from the kingdom of God?