Jesus had been asked a question by an expert in the Law: “Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?” As He often does, Jesus answered the question with a question: “What does the Bible say about this?” Luke 10:27 is the response He got and that He applauded. There is a lot going on here in this conversation that the text does not tell us.
1) The expert is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. The Deuteronomy passage is part of what is known as The Shema. The Shema is a series of 3 passages in the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) that Jews began memorizing when they were about 5 years old and that they repeated every day of their lives twice a day. For Jews it was the most important text in the Bible.
2) Why did they repeat it so often? Because it was a declaration of their allegiance to God. It was an intentional way of reminding themselves of who God was and what He expected of His people.
This expert in the Law knew the textbook answer to Jesus’ question but living the answer was another matter. The Pharisees had become so consumed with matters of the Law that they had forgotten the Law of Love. Jesus made things simple – Love God! Love people! Love God with every fiber of your being and the rest will take care of itself. A great reminder to us as well.
Why this brick is foundational: If EVERYTHING that we do is motivated by love for God and love for people then we are well on our way to being disciples of Jesus. Knowing all the textbook answers isn’t nearly as important as practicing the Law of Love!