Scot McKnight reflects on “the greatest commandment” in this excerpt from One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow (eBook).
From 613 Commandments … To 2
[A religious expert] came to Jesus, because he wanted to trap Jesus in a theological debate. (Or, in our terms, because he wanted Jesus to tell the crowd which denomination he was in or whose side he was on in a political or religious debate.)
[The religious expert asks,] “Of all the commandments [the 613], which is the most important?”
If Jesus picks one, he could be guilty of picking and choosing the wrong one. If he doesn’t pick one, he looks lame. Jesus was ready … and he offers to his listeners [what] I call the Jesus Creed:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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.” Mark 12:29–31 …