What gets wetter the more it dries? — A towel
What word is spelled incorrectly in every single dictionary? — Incorrectly
Okay, those probably made you groan. Those are cheesy examples of trick questions. Trick questions are intentionality designed to trip you up. Religious leaders loved presenting Jesus with cleverly worded trick questions. After Jesus made a scene when he entered Jerusalem, livid leaders wanted nothing more than to embarrass Him up in public. “If we can trip Him up, then people will stop following Him,” they plotted in a secret meeting. (I am just guessing, I wasn’t there.) How were they going to pull this off? By using a trick question.
In Mark twelve, Jesus is in the middle of a standoff with some teachers of the Law. They ask, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (12:28) With a grin, Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (12:30-31).
Love God. Love others. That’s the greatest commandment.
Wait, that can’t be right. Jesus was asked for the single greatest commandment, but He gave two answers. Of course the person who invented numbers knows how to count. Why would he answer in the plural? It’s because loving God and loving people are impossible to separate. Your love for God overflows in the way you love people. The Pharisees were obsessed with loving God, but they were awful at loving people. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy in their lifestyle with a simple reply that summed up the entire Torah.
Loving one another is not easy. People can be frustrating. They can cut you off in traffic, hurt your feelings, and forget about your birthday. Loving all people is impossible on your own. You need God’s help. When you realize the extravagance of God’s love, it changes everything. God loves with an unconditional, forgiving, over-the-top love. Once you experience it, then you want to share it.