MUSINGS – November 19, 2018
One of the scribes went to Jesus during the argument with the Sadducees. He saw how well Jesus answered them, so he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of them all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” The scribe said to Jesus, “Teacher, that was well said! You’ve told the truth that there is only one God and no other besides him! To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus heard how wisely the man answered, he told the man, “You’re not too far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one dared to ask him another question.
Jus1areligious leaders are all arrogant, self-important, and foolish, this scribe comes to Jesus. He comes with no tricky questions. He does not offer empty flattery. He was on the sidelines when Jesus was confronted by the Sadducees.* He saw how wisely Jesus had seen through their intentions. Now he comes with sincere respect and asks his question, knowing that Jesus will give a truthful, well thought-out answer. And he is not disappointed. He asked, Which commandment is the most important of them all?”
Jesus instead, of picking one of the comments, summarized them all. Jesus was impressed by this scribe and told him, You’re not too far from the kingdom of God.”
I’m sorry that Mark’s narrative ended there. I’d like to know if this scribe took the next step. Did he recognized Jesus as the Messiah? Did he become a follower? Or did he remain not to far, so close but not yet there?
What a wonderful place to be … not far from the Kingdom. What a terrible place to be if he stopped there. I’m reminded of the the hymn Almost Persuaded. One verse is so terrifying to me:
Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last;
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad that bitter wail—
It was that hymn that led me to take that final step. I had been standing just outside the kingdom, looking in, but afraid to take that final step. I was afraid to let go of my self-will and accept God’s will
If you find yourself not too far from the Kingdom, I encourage and urge you to move forward. Take that last step! Place your life in the hands of the one who created you** and loved you as no other can.***
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