November 12, 2018
Scripture Mark 12:28-34
“Then the scribe said to him,
“You are right, Teacher….
When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Mark 12:32a, 34a (NRSV)
This passage of scripture is typical for the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus wastes little time in asserting himself and declaring his purpose in his life and ministry. Following his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is teaching the crowds around the temple. A scribe, someone educated in the Hebrew laws, asks a question of Jesus. Jesus instructs this Jewish authority, and those around them, with new insights into scripture and the Law of Moses. Just as we are often struck by the amazing words from Jesus, the scribe had an “Ah, hah!” moment, as well. Jesus acknowledges him and indirectly welcomes the Hebrew scholar into the grace, love, and mercy of God: The object of the ministry and teaching of Jesus.
This particular story demonstrates how humbling, and subtle, our experience of faith and of Christ can be. We experience reversals all the time, and learn from them. But, nothing compares with our experience of God in Jesus Christ. Often, in the middle of distress we pray for some guidance on how to handle a difficult situation. Then, as we see in this scripture comfort and peace come to us: We are able to take on the situation: to grow and learn from it.
Jesus used the questions from the scribe to instruct, not just the scribe, but everyone there that day in Jerusalem. That teaching continues to us today. This is the marvel and power of God’s Word: enriching and informing us, so that we progress in our faith and in our living. This is the power of the Word embodied in Jesus Christ. Thankfully, the Gospel stories and the experience of those who followed Christ are recorded for us, constantly present and available.
Jesus tells us what we need to know. What Jesus said, is truth. But, as the scribe points out, it also informs us of God’s nature and God’s will. And, through the body of scripture that we know as the New Testament, Jesus informs us, instructs us, makes demands on us.
Thanks be to God for this great gift and teaching.