Mark 12:32–34: “So the scribe said to Him, ‘Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ So when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'”

November 6th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Matthew 22:35 tells us that this scribe was a lawyer, an expert in the law. When he said to Jesus, “You have spoken the truth,” he was accepting Jesus’ answer in spite of the other priests standing nearby listening who had been trying to trap Jesus. The scribe had grasped the fact that relationship with God was more important than religious ritual. Jesus’ response to the scribe was meant to draw him in: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Jesus was encouraging the scribe, but by saying, “not far,” He was emphasizing that he was not quite in the kingdom yet. The scribe understood the requirements of love but he also needed to obey the One who alone could grant him entrance to the kingdom, the One who was standing in front of him at that moment.

Most people are aware of the medical evidence of how hazardous cigarette smoking is to a person’s health. Yet imagine a heavy smoker with a severe respiratory problem saying to his doctor, “I know that cigarettes are affecting my health and I should quit smoking,” and the doctor replying, “You are not far from the way of health.” The doctor would be pointing out that there is a clear distinction between knowing what to do and actually doing it. What good is knowledge if it is not put into practice? Knowing God’s will is one step removed from doing it.

No one is capable of loving God with their whole heart, all the time. No one is capable of loving their neighbor as much as they love themselves, all the time. So how would this scribe (or anyone else for that matter) be able to accomplish what Jesus was requiring? By surrendering. It requires confession, repentance, and surrender to God’s rule over our lives. He then fills us with His Spirit so that we can walk with Him.

“LORD, it is not our lives but Yours that we chose. It is not our time, our money, our hobbies, our car, our spouse, our children, or our anything. We give it all to You. We surrender.”