Does a person love being associated with Jesus or do they actually love Jesus? Sometimes those two paths can appear very similar, but at points, they will diverge. Jesus’ teaching in Mark 12:28-44 helps to clarify the difference between hanging around Jesus for the fame of association and following Jesus as an act of love.
These are the keys that Jesus gives us for understanding the difference between loving fame and loving Jesus:
- Believe God to be who He says He is. (12:28-29)
- Love God with all you are. (12:30)
- Love others with all you are. (12:31)
- Believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God. (12:32-37)
- Don’t follow the example of the religious leaders (12:38-40)
- Do follow the example of the insignificant widow (12:41-44)
The American church is having a day of reckoning where she is having to decide if she is following fame and success or following Jesus Christ. Many churches have treated faithfulness to God word and godly living as secondary in importance to “making a big splash in the culture.” They have overlooked abuse and sin due to worship at cults of personality. Seeking to “make a splash in culture” often has the effect of turning off to the idea of church while looking for someone who will genuinely exemplify the way of Jesus. We must be eternally vigilant that we are following Jesus and not simply the fame of Jesus.
- Why do you think Jesus singles out two commandments as the most important (vv. 30-31)?
- Do you have to know God in order to love God?
- Why is the doctrine of the trinity so important to truly know Jesus?
- What is standing in the way of the religious elites understanding of Jesus’ sonship (vv. 32-37)?
- How do we sometimes make the identity of God less important than our own idea of God?
- Does religious importance sometimes mask ungodly hearts?
- Do religious actions sometimes mask ungodly practices?
- How did the religious scribes demonstrate hypocrisy (vv.38-40)?
- How is religious hypocrisy most destructive in America today?
- Why was the widow an example in loving God (vv.41-44)?
- Who is a seemingly insignificant person who you look to as an example in godliness?