Not Far from The Kingdom of God by Pastor Scott Peterson
Not far from the kingdom of God – Mark 12:32-34
And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
“When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Typically, a scribe was both a student and a teacher of the Word; the specialty of a scribe was God’s law, the written and prophetic Word of God. They focused their study on the Scriptures, knowing both content and practice of God’s Word.
Some of the Old Testament scribes were great students of God’s Word and leaders of the people of God (Ezra 7)
“Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Because the hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders” – Ezra 7:10, 28
Some of the New Testament scribes were legalistic, strict teachers of religion but far from God and enemies of Jesus.
The scribe in this passage seems to have a true interest in seeking and understanding the life & teachings of Jesus (12:28).
At the end of their conversation Jesus states that he was near to the Kingdom of God, but close does not mean entering, so what would it take to get this scribe into the kingdom of God?
*What do you think keeps people from actually entering the kingdom?
*What is required to enter the kingdom of God?
*How does a kingdom of God person live in the kingdom of this world?
Two hindrances to entering the kingdom are “head” (a lack of knowledge) and “heart” (a lack of devotion).
I believe that we enter God’s kingdom by faith (believe in Jesus) and we live kingdom by expressing love (God & others).
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” ~ Galatians 5:6
One of my favorite devotional readings during Passion Week is called, “No Wonder they Call Him Savior” by Max Lucado. In it he has a chapter titled, “Close to the Cross-but Far from the Christ” where he describes some of the scenes & people who were so near to the miracles, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, but so far from the wonder of the Savior.
This coming Easter season will lead us into times of reflection and study centered on the KING of the Kingdom.
“My kingdom is not of this world…my kingdom is from another place.
You are right in saying I am a king, in fact for this reason I came” – John 18:36
Upcoming Easter Week Services:
Sunday, March 28 ~ Palm Sunday Celebration – “The Crowning King” – Mark 11:1-11 (Palm branches provided)
Friday, April 2 ~ Good Friday Communion service – “The Crucified King” – Mark 15:12-32 (communion served)
Sunday, April 4 ~ Resurrection Celebration – “The Conquering King” – John 20:19-29 (coming alive)!
What head knowledge or evidence do you need to believe in Jesus?
What heart devotion do you need to fully follow Jesus?
Wil we see His look of love or will we look away?