You are not far from the Kingdom of God. 

Imagine being told that you will receive a special present on your birthday but that you have to be at home to accept it. You spend all day at home eagerly awaiting the present—whatever it is. Around midday, an old friend from out of town stops by. You greet him warmly and show him in, but the whole time he is there, you’re distracted. You keep listening for the doorbell and that special delivery.

Guess what? You missed it! You were expecting the gift to come in a box or a package, not in a person.

This is one way to understand today’s Gospel (Mark 12:28-34). The scribe in the story was looking for an answer, but Jesus was offering him a relationship.

“You are not far from the Kingdom of God,” Jesus says to him (Mark 12:34). That is literally true because unbeknownst to him, the scribe is standing right in front of the One who ushers in the kingdom. In himself and his mission, all the laws of Moses are fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is now established here on earth.

So the scribe has a choice to make. Will he stay close to Jesus and come to faith in him? Or will he dismiss Jesus’ claims out of hand and keep waiting for a fulfillment that has already happened? We don’t know whether the scribe embraced faith in Jesus or remained “not far” from him, but we can be sure of one thing: if he had known that God himself was present in Jesus, he would have been overwhelmed. He would have worshipped him instead of just discussing God with him.

Sometimes we too stop short of the kingdom. Instead of listening humbly when we bring our concerns to Jesus, we do all the talking. Instead of submitting to his commands, we look for a loophole or shortcut. Don’t let that happen today! Turn to him and let him teach you how to live in the love that he came to bring. He alone fulfills the two great commandments, and he alone can share that accomplishment with you. He’s standing at the door right now. Will you recognize him as the gift you’ve been waiting for?

“Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of your kingdom. Teach me how to love you and your people today.”

Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17
Mark 12:28-34


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