“Then one of them, which was a lawyer asked [Jesus] a question, tempting him, saying Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” (v. 35)
Significantly, the question was asked by a lawyer. Lawyers are experts in the law. They are masters of entrapping people through cross-examination.
This lawyer was not asking Jesus a question in good faith. The lawyer was not sincerely seeking the truth. His question was a trap. He was “tempting” Jesus. And it was a very good trap.
Jewish legal scholars argued endlessly about the greatest commandment. There are 613 commandments in the law of Moses. One “thou shalt not” for every day of the year in the Hebrew calendar, and one “thou shalt” for every bone of the body.
The lawyer’s question was a loaded one. No matter which of the 613 commandments Jesus chose, the lawyer would pick another commandment of arguably greater importance. It was a no-win situation.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
“This is the first and great commandment.”
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (v. 36-41)
And now the miracle:
“And no man was able to answer [Jesus] a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.”
This is one of Christ’s greatest miracles – “the miracle of silencing the lawyers.”
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