Not Far from the Kingdom
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 8-10; Mark 12:28-44
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. Deuteronomy 10:16
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:34
In yesterday’s reading in Mark, wily questioners came to Jesus attempting to trick Him or trap Him in His words. In today’s reading, however, the scribe who came appears to have been sincere. He wanted to know “which commandment is the most important of all?” He heard Jesus’ answer, repeated it, and affirmed it. Jesus found the man’s response to reflect wisdom and commended him as being “not far from the kingdom of God.”
What indicated that this scribe was near the kingdom? He seems to have recognized Jesus’ authority. He seems to have been receptive to Jesus’ teaching. He seems to have been hungry to know the truth. He seems to have been willing to obey the truth once it was clear to him.
Perhaps he had what Moses called a circumcised heart.
Moses told the Israelites to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts, and to stop being stubborn. Their hearts were in danger of becoming insensitive. They were at risk of becoming unreceptive. Moses knew that even though Israel had God’s law, they might ignore it, growing callous to its commands.
What is the condition of your heart before God’s word? Are you wise and receptive, hungry to know and grow, like the scribe? Beware of an uncircumcised heart that knows the truth but is insensitive to it. Those who love God’s word are close to the kingdom of God.