“Which is the first of all the commandments?” The Jewish scribe posing this question to Jesus, as with his fellow scribes, was highly educated in several languages to assist religious, business and government leaders in recordkeeping as well as domestic and international correspondence. They were the college professors of their day when it came to the understanding and interpretation of Jewish scriptures. Whereas the inquiries of the Pharisees and other scribes had clearly been intended to try to trip Jesus up, his seems to have been an honest attempt to learn from Jesus. Perhaps he had been impressed with the way Jesus had handled previous challenges. He seems intrigued by the insight of Jesus’ answer connecting love of neighbor with a quote from Leviticus 19:18 with the commandment to love God with all one’s being from the text of today’s first reading in Deuteronomy 6:4-6. His affirmation of Jesus answer indicates an open mind to seeing the good in Jesus. It is possible that he eventually become a Christian.
Today’s second reading is a continuation of selections from the letter to the Hebrews which was written to guide people steeped in the Jewish faith such as that scribe to understand how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s revelation to the Jewish people.