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SO NEAR, YET SO FAR AWAY!

MARK 12:28-34

"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."

Preacher Bagwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Jesus said to the young man, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." And these words, the implications they offer, have arrested my attention.

Here is the whole passage, Mark 12:28-34. "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."

This surely means that some folks are "closer" to the kingdom than others!

Nearer being "saved" than they ever imagined!

"Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

This reminds me of something Peter once asked. "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1st Peter 4:18

One is not far from being saved!

And those who are born-again are said to be scarcely saved!

Wow!

This young scribe who came to Jesus must have been sincere. His questions were honest, from his heart. He was not trying to "trap" Jesus in some sort of verbal trickery.

Yet, close as he was, Mark offers us not one shred of evidence that the young man followed through, that he was ever really regenerated by the Grace of God.

"And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."

The young man, the scribe, merely disappears into the crowd, apparently.

Someone may be reading here today who is like our subject. Near Jesus, near salvation, near repentance ... but then again, so far away!

One can be "not far," but still die and spend eternity in Hell!

Let's talk about these verses for a few days.

What brought the scribe so close to Jesus?

And more importantly, what drove him away, still not having entered the kingdom of God?

And to someone this morning, "Are you saved?"

How "close" are you to eternal life?

Has the Holy Spirit ever "drawn" you to Jesus?

Have you ever sensed His convicting power?

Do you even have any desire to know God?

Oh how I wonder, when we get to Heaven some day, will others who have been this "close" be there or not?

How sad indeed it would be, to be that "close" ... and still miss it all!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

By the way ...

If you are truly saved and know it ... thank God for that fact! You have passed the "not far" stage and have "entered into" the family of God!

Praise His Name!

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 28:

It's called a "progression."

I'll underline the verbs that provide the action.

"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that Jesus had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?" Mark 12:28

This scribe is different!

That noun, "grammateus," means a "clerk, secretary, recorder," someone gifted and knowledgeable in "letters." The basic noun here is "gramma," from the verb "grapho," meaning "to write" as with a pencil or pen. The scribes as a group were experts at interpreting the Law of Moses. Professionals, you might say.

Now some of the scribes sought to trick Jesus, to make Him look inept and awkward before the crowds. These men could be associated with either the Pharisees or Sadducees. Both parties needed such experts.

Again I say, this scribe was different form the beginning.

If one had given most of his life to the study of Scripture, as had the scribes, he would have almost been drawn like a magnet to the Lord Jesus, the greatest Student of Scripture Who ever lived! In fact, Jesus is the Author of the Word of God! He is even called "The Living Word!"

Plus, "Jesus taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:29, Wow! This unnamed teacher of the Law might have gone to hear Jesus, just to learn from the Master!

Anyway, once he came to Jesus, the "progression" I mentioned earlier become apparent.

He listened, "having heard" the day's conversations. Next he "perceived" or in Greek "knew" Jesus had answered all the questions "well." Really "kalos" means "excellently, beautifully, appropriately." The "best of all" answers, from the lips of our Lord, verbal "magnificence."

He came and heard Jesus.

He knew Jesus was right in all He said.

Then third, he asked Jesus a question. Not a silly or foolish or trick question, but a sincere one. "Which is the first commandment of all?"

The scribes all knew that Moses gave 613 commandments. They probably had learned most of them by heart. Of those commands, 248 are positive and 365 are negative! But this scribe knew that too.

He wants to know, of those hundreds of precepts, which one was the "first!" The "protos" one! In topmost "place," in the highest "rank," the very very "chief" commandment! Which one is it, Lord Jesus?

That question alone shows great confidence in Christ!

Here stand most of the scribes of our Lord's time. "After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death." Mark 14:1

The scribes as a group hated Jesus!

They may have felt threatened by our Lord, Who knew the Scriptures perfectly. They surely sensed a feeling of inadequacy around Him!

But again, in fact for the third time today, I remark that this scribe of Mark 12:28-32 is different!

He is a sinner, for sure.

But already he seems to be "warming up" to Jesus!

I think this is a trait of every sinner who has even been saved. He or she gradually is drawn to our Lord, by the precious Holy Spirit of God.

That sinner of course can accept or reject the Saviour. But if he says "no," it's his doings, not the Lord's!

Here's an example of what I mean, although symbolically. The little boy was dead. Yet the Prophet Elisha intends to pray him back to life! Watch what happens as the lad "nears" life again!

He will begin, his body will, to "warm up!" But he's not alive yet!

He then will "sneeze," seven times we are told!

More signs of approaching vitality!

"And the Shunammite woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life. And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died." 2nd Kings 4:17-20

A dead child!

But a real man of God is approaching, too. A prayer warrior if one ever lived! Elisha on whom rested a "double portion" of the Spirit of God!

"And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out." 2nd Kings 4:32-37

Before he opened his eyes, a sure sign of life, he had already warmed up, and then sneezed seven times!

All I'm saying is this.

Our scribe in today's Text is "snuggling up" to Jesus!

Spiritually I think we've heard him "sneeze" a time or two.

Such things happen to every sinner, as he or she approaches Jesus, the Lord of Life.

That's Jesus, Whom John 4:42 calls "the Saviour of the world!"

Wow!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSES 29-30:

The "first" commandment, that's what the young man sought from Jesus. "Lord, which is the first commandment of all?" Mark 12:28

That's when Mark writes: "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:29-30

The part of Jesus' response that begins with "Hear, O Israel" is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Here I've recorded it for you. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." The Jews repeat these words 'til this very day, almost like a creed, multiplied thousands of times!

This pericope is a summary of the first half of the Ten Commandments. A good one, too!

God must come first in any successful life!

Today I want to make a few observations from our Text. This Passage about the "One Lord God."

Let's have an ultra brief vocabulary lesson as we begin. Two different names for God are used here. He is Lord. And He is God. In other words, He is "Jehovah" and He is also "Elohiym."

"Jehovah" means the One Who constantly "is!" The great "I am That I am" of Exodus 3:14. The eternal covenant making and covenant keeping God of the ages!

"Elohiym" means "The Mighty One, The Strong One," that being the undisputed sense of "el" in Hebrew. The Powerful One!

God wants to enter into relationship with you and me, Jehovah!

And once he does, He is powerful enough to maintain that relationship, Elohiym. I'm using the Hebrew spelling here.

Plus this about "Elohiym," it's plural! That ending is proof, the "im" sound. This hints at a plurality in the Godhead! Paul coined that word, the King James Translators did anyway. "Godhead" translates "theios," that which is pertaining to "deity." This too, this rendering, suggests a "plurality" within the perfect "unity" of our God! Bible students for generations have believed this refers to the Trinity! The Father and Son and Holy Spirit, Three in One! One God, manifest in three Persons!

This is the God we are to love, thus fulfilling the greatest Commandment of all!

Here's the point today. God within Himself, as Father and Son and Spirit, is in fellowship with Himself!

Constantly!

Without end!

Father with Son! Son with Spirit!

Spirit with Father!

And so forth, perpetually!

And when we love this great God with all our being (heart, soul, mind and strength) ... we virtually enter into this Fellowship with Him!

Blessing of all blessings!

See if you can spot this kind of fellowship in 1st John 1:3. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

Wow!

Jesus is telling us that if we ever meet this Triune God, if we ever get to really know Him and get a taste of that kind of Fellowship ... it's all over!

We will love him thereafter with everything we have!

Think of it! Entering into communion with the Godhead! Knowing God that intimately!

Jesus asked this very thing in his greatest of all prayers! "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." Wow, double Wow, triple Wow really, John 17:21.

Today I challenge you!

Fellowship a while this weekend with God the Father!

Then love God the Son some!

Afterwards talk to and appreciate God the Holy Spirit, too!

Then repeat or reverse or invert this whole process!

You will spend the whole day "loving" the Triune God, the LORD God, with all your being!

And you will have also obeyed the greatest of all commandments!

Amen!

Let's try it!

And if you do, you are in for one pleasant Saturday in February!

Praise the Lord!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 31:

As is often the case with Jesus, He gives an honest scribe more than he asked! This inquisitive but respectful Jewish gentleman had besought the Lord to identify the "first" commandment of all.

In response Jesus really mentioned two of Moses' Laws, but somehow blending them into one.

The teacher of the Law: "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Jesus, Which is the first commandment of all?" Mark 12:28

Jesus, as we saw last lesson, began: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:29-30

But now for today's lesson, our Lord adds: "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Mark 12:31

Sounds right. More than that! It is right, because the perfect Lord God Almighty has just said so!

Yet Jesus, interpreter as well as teacher, further explains: "There is none other commandment greater than these." At the end of Mark 12:31, its last half.

Now we must study both what Jesus said, and why He linked these two commandments like He did.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." This is almost self explanatory. The verb for "love" is again "agapao." It's a self-sacrificing kind of thing, a giving love, not an all-for-me love. One Greek student pointed out that the other most often used "love" verb, "phileo," would not have worked here. "To be fond" of one's neighbor, in other words merely "to like" him or her, is insufficient to satisfy God in Heaven.

Truth be told, you can "agapeo" someone you do not necessarily "phileo" all that much! Whether you like them or not ... you can still pray for them, want them to be saved, seek to help them grow in the Lord, give to them when times of need occur, all acts in which "agape" love is functioning.

The word "neighbor" is "plesion," a derivative of "pelas," which means "nearby." By Jesus' standards, one's "neighbor" is that person most near him at the moment!

Wow!

And the idea of loving anything or anyone "as thyself" is astounding! Paul used this idea of our Lord's in Ephesians 5, where husbands are to love their wives "as their own flesh." Here is it verbatim: "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies."

Do I love those around me like that?

Even the very concept is earth shaking!

Still though, why did Jesus associate these two commandments?

Love God with every fiber of your being!

And love your neighbor nearly that deeply, too!

I think here's why.

It centers on that whole idea of "interaction," like we saw yesterday. Of "fellowship" one with another.

God the Trinity communes within Himself!

Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

In any Order at any time!

As I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength I too enter into that divine fellowship! Wonder of wonders! Me interacting and adoring and responding to the Triune Godhead!

"One," even one like me, "among the Brethren!"

Remember John's seminal verse on this subject, a proof text if one ever existed. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." 1st John 1:3-4, see the fellowship? Can't you just "feel" its warmth in your soul right now?

Therefore, if I am anywhere near right in this view, to "love" one's neighbor is to get to know him well enough to "give and take" and "share" and "communicate" and "relate" with him, all pictures of what's happening within the Godhead this very second!

And the closer this neighbor is to Jesus, relationally, spiritually, the deeper and more meaningful this fellowship can become!

Wow!

This dynamic "communion" element is truly the nexus between these two commandments. I'm sure of that.

In fact, this "one toward another" feature is probably the "key" to unlocking the whole idea of true Worship and Service and Ministry in the Christian life.

Christianity is not a "solo" thing!

It is "social" to the core!

Count the times Scripture tells us Christians to do something "one to another." There are fifteen or more, at least!

Now plug this "fellowship" model into the Text so far, and see what happens! To me, it comes alive!

"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:28-31

In conclusion, that adjective "greater" is represented by the Greek word "megas," as in our expressions "megaphone" and that food buffet "megabar" and those huge Megachurches!  It means "big, great" or even "surprising."

If all this is so, the way of life Jesus introduced is one of constant interrelation and not so often isolation!

Wow!

How are we introverts going to handle this one?

Or these two really?

No doubt, this kind of loving, both to God above and to our fellow humans here on earth, must constantly be a function of God the Holy Spirit! 

He is The Eternal Love Machine anyway! And I mean that respectfully, reverently.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love ...." Galatians 5:22, God the Third person!

"God is love ...." 1st John 4:16, God the First Person!

"Jesus Christ ... Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." Revelation 1:5, God the Second Person!

Then side two: "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us." From Ephesians 5:2. Or Jesus' prayer in John 17:26. "Father, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Reciprocal Love!

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." John 13:34

Enough for today!

It will take me a week to contemplate this much!

Love!

Love!

Love!

Pure and holy and untainted!

Straight from the Throne of God!

My favorite word again, Wow!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 32:

What a wise choice of words!

From a scribe, to Jesus, complimenting our Lord's answer to one of the most important questions ever asked.

The question: "Which is the first commandment of all?"

The answer: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

Our Text is found in Mark's Gospel, 12:28-34.

Oh, the choice of words to which I referred: "And the scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He." Mark 12:32

The adverb "well" is important here. "Kalos" means "right, correct, good," even "pleasing" at times.

The noun "Master" translates "didaskalos," merely "teacher." It's from a root verb, "dao," that means "to learn."

"Truth," as you may remember, is "aletheia," literally "something that cannot be hidden!" That once known, cannot be forgotten!

"Thou has said the Truth," Jesus!

Then the scribe reiterates Jesus' words, in essence anyway. "For there is one God; and there is none other but He."

This is a repudiation of polytheism. It's also a Christ exalting declaration! "Exclusivist" in nature!

Today I feel strongly compelled to talk about that "Truth" comment the scribe just made.

"Master, Thou hast said the truth."

Let's capitalize the "T."

"Master, Thou hast said the Truth."

If Jesus said it, it's Truth unalloyed!

Truth perfected!

He could say nothing but the Truth!

That is, if you believe Jesus is God! And that's a tenet, a fundamental conviction, that all true Christians hold!

For you see, since Jesus is God, Scripture Verses like Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 apply.

"God cannot lie." This is the Titus fragment.

"It is impossible for God to lie." From Hebrews.

Furthermore, Jesus is the Truth! He is Truth made alive, Truth personified, Truth in flesh and Blood and bone!

Listen to Him. He can speak for Himself! "I am the Truth," John 14:6.

Oh yes, there He is also the Way and the Life, but Truth is clearly our emphasis today.

Today we live in a world that in many instances no longer believes that Truth actually exists!

Or that many truths, even contradictory ones, are plausible.

That's a philosophy that defies logic, at least as we have know it through the years!

Last night I saw a book advertised that said this, "There is not one truth, but many." What I think was being implied is that no one single Truth can take precedent over any other! That nothing is supreme, absolute! That one man's or one woman's ideas of truth are just a valid as another person's!

After all, they say, truth is relative.

It is situational, they are pretty sure!

But, according to the Bible, such thinking is wrong!

Dangerously wrong!

Dead wrong!

Why does it matter?

Upon one's doctrine of Truth hang the issues of eternity.

Is there an afterlife?

Is Heaven real?

Hell too?

And if so, how can a person gain the one, Heaven, and consequently spurn the other?

Again, there is One who knows!

One Who is so accurate, infallible really, that He can speak no untruth!

Jesus is His Name!

We're back to Jesus again!

Truth cannot be discussed without our Lord entering the mix!

Again He is Truth!

Our scribe has spoken more than he ever realized!

"Master, Thou hast said the Truth."

This is important.

I personally have based my entire future on the words of Jesus.

If He is wrong, I am in trouble.

Perhaps eternally so!

But if Jesus is Right, I'm on my way to Heaven! Saved by God's Grace! Washed in the Blood of the Lamb! Filled with the Holy Spirit! And the recipient of many, many answers to prayer! Happy as I can be!

See?

I am trusting Jesus with my very soul!

Because I believe, He is the Truth!

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, in John 5:24.

On this I stand!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, THOSE LISTS:

It's a list.

A comprehensive one, perhaps all inclusive.

Jesus gave these areas, domains in which the Lord God is to have all our love. "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Mark 12:30

Jesus of course was alluding to the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:5. "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

Then the young scribe, agreeing with both Jesus and Moses, listed the areas as follows: "And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength." Mark 12:33

No single list agrees completely with any another! 

Jesus: heart, soul, mind and strength. In Greek, "kardia, psuche, dianoia, and ischus." Look! "Cardia" gives us "cardiology," the branch of medicine that cares for the "heart!" And "psuche" gives us our words "psychology and psychiatry!" Even "psyche," a loan word, the human "soul!"

Sounds like loving God completely, in my estimation anyway.

Moses only required these three: heart, soul and might. In Hebrew of course, "lebab, nephesh, and meod." Now "lebab" means "to make excited, to ravish," an emotional word indeed! Involving the "heart" metaphorically as well as physically! The "soul" or "nephesh" is the inner you, that which is really alive! The Hebrew verb means "to breathe" or "to refresh" oneself! And "might," most uniquely of all, is "meod," really "muchness, abundance," thus "with force," with all one possesses!

Then the scribe's litany. Four again: heart, understanding, soul and strength. Back to "cardia" as before, plus "sunesis" (a different word than Jesus used), "psuche and ischus." The noun "sunesis," here translated "understanding," is one that refers to a "flowing together" of one's thoughts! Complete harmony with oneself, mentally! No double mindedness here! No hypocrisy! A clear conscience! Paul once said that he knew nothing against himself, 1st Corinthians 4:4. Wow!

By the way, "ischus," on two of the three lists above, the Greek lists, usually is said to refer to "physical ability, muscular force!" One's capacity to work and serve and minister materially to the Lord!

What shades of meaning!

Surely the point is this. Love God with all you have!

Every department of life, every avenue of existence, no hesitancy allowed, no holdouts!

Numerically, 100% for Jesus!

Jesus' list is the Rule, the Canon, the perfect Guide. He asked more than Moses anyway! He always does, but He tempers His demands with love and kindness and grace! "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength."

But Moses didn't do bad, either. Especially considering that he lived fifteen hundred years before Jesus. "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." New perspectives all! From one's innermost being, fervently! And with every living part of me! With all my overflow, too!

Mercy!

And even the young scribe, "Love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength." Clearly emphasizing that "integrity," that "wholeness of mind," that total negation of any half-heartedness or lukewarmness or duplicity!

Could a more circumspect list ever be written?

But now, in closing, let's do a bit of comparing.

Here's the vastness of God's love for us. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39, God's list!

We must here stand amazed!

God loves us so much!

Now here's our list back to Him! It's pitiful when compared to His devotion for us! Ours is so very scant and lean!

"Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and mind and strength and might and understanding and resources!" This is a blending of Jesus' and Moses' and the scribe's responses.

Folks, let's get busy!

Loving the God Who saved us!

Adoring Him mentally, emotionally, volitionally, materially, and every other way imaginable!

He deserves all that, and a whole lot more!

"Lord, we love Thee! But we want to love You much more! Help us to do so, please. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 34:

We are nearing the end of our current series of studies, Mark 12:28-34. Our Lord is about to comment on the character of a certain scribe, a student of sacred law.

"And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." Mark 12:34

The verb "saw," a participle here, translates the verb that often means "to know." This is another hint that Jesus is omniscient, aware of everything. Also be aware, Jesus knows about you and me too, about our faith and trust in Him.

This particular scribe had evaluated Jesus' words with much kindness. "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceived that Jesus had answered them well." Mark 12:28, where "well" means "beautifully, excellently, honourably."

Jesus used a unique word as he categorized the scribe's behavior. "Jesus saw that he answered discreetly."

"Nounechos" blends "nous," the noun meaning one's "mind," and "echo," a verb meaning "to hold on" to something! It means something like "of a sound mind." Or "possessing all his faculties." The man has spoken wisely concerning Jesus, prudently.

No where else in Scripture will "nounechos" be found.

Jesus adds to His summary, to the scribe. "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

Wow!

The adverb "far" is "makros," meaning "long." He's not too distant from really getting saved!

"The kingdom of God," not the "Kingdom of Heaven," probably is that body of all peoples who have trusted Christ Jesus as their Saviour. It may not even be limited to the New Testament saints. All the Lord's flock, of all the ages! Whereas the "Kingdom of Heaven" is a dispensational term, referring to what we often call the Millennium.

Jesus is really telling the young man that he is very close to the Truth! On the verge of salvation!

Surely he will be born again!

Yet we do not know this.

The Bible ends the account right here.

Will the scribe be in Heaven?

Or did he not respond to his opportunity?

Mark leaves the question open!

Why?

It could be for this reason. God might know someone else, maybe even an individual reading here today, who is very "close" to the Kingdom of God!

Someone who could accept, or reject, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And what will you do?

Is Jesus wise?

More than that, is Jesus God?

Did He die for your sins?

Do you even care?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, more than likely you are not far away either!

Romans 10:9-10 explains it far better than I ever could. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Let's not tamper with Paul's words, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I hope this young scribe, kind as he could be, was saved! After all, Jesus is the greatest soul-winner Who ever lived!

And I equally hope someone visiting this Bible Study Website today will be saved as well!

Of course let's remember this. "Not far" from the Kingdom isn't close enough! If one stops "not far" away, he will yet die in his sins.

Cry out to Jesus for Mercy!

Like that man in Luke 18:13, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

And what happened to him?

Let's allow Jesus to answer. "This man went down to his house justified." Luke 18:14

In other words, God saved his soul!

He passed from "not far" to "entered in" ... what a wonderful move!

Are you "in  Christ" today?

God said, "Whosoever will may come."

And that includes you!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, CONCLUSION:

After Jesus' encounter with the unusually kind scribe, Mark 12:28-34, these words are written. "And no man after that durst ask Him any question."

Why has Mark included this fact?

There may be several reasons.

Jesus, through many months now, has been "questioned" time and time again. Most often by those who hated His Ministry. They were not curious about anything, but rather bent on making our Lord look foolish.

Or perhaps causing Him to contradict Himself, exposing Him to ridicule and mockery.

Of course we all realize that the "trick" questions failed, every one of them. Jesus was far too wise for any such thing.

But now, finally, the questions have ceased. Except those that will be asked of Him during His arrest and trail and crucifixion.

"And no man after that durst ask Him any question." Mark 12:34

Here are a few possible reasons the Holy Spirit emphasizes this fact.

No more questions, because Jesus is soon to die on Calvary. There is simply very little time left for questions!

In this sense "question" time is over! It's time for the Test, the greatest Test anyone ever faced! The old rugged Cross! In fact, there Jesus is the One Who asked a question! "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46

There's another reason for "no more questions." Jesus answers those things too well! Instead of the inquiries making Him look confused or inept, they rather make Him look "in control" and "skilled" and really "omniscient!"

The nefarious purposes of the questioners had failed!

Did you know that in Scripture several different kinds of questions are mentioned?

Paul mentions "foolish" questions in Titus 3:9. These we are clearly told to avoid!

Then in 2nd Timothy 3:9 he adds "unlearned" questions to the list. Also to be spurned.

The existence of these two kinds of questions demands a third category! That being "wise" questions. Well placed questions! Timely ones!

I suspect the Lord generally loves our questions, from a sincere heart anyway. Jesus always took time to answer those kind!

But, as we've seen from our Text, question time was over!

Demonstration Time had come!

And off to the Cross Jesus goes, deliberately and resolutely and "without a doubt" in His Mind!

"And no man after that durst ask Him any questions." Mark 12:34

That is, until the saved of all the ages are gathered in Heaven!

I'm pretty sure that then questions will be allowed!

That is, if we need to ask any!

Think of it, all eternity with the Saviour!

Any Bible question you might have!

Any query about the running of the universe!

Anything doctrinal too!

Living next door to the Wisest One Who ever graced earth with His Presence! The Darling Son of God!

John, in his longest Epistle, reminds us simply, "God knoweth all things." 1st John 3:20.

The ban on questions will have been lifted, for all etrernity!

If I merely want to know the "science" behind the sun's blazing "fusion" capabilities, nuclear energy for sure, I'm pretty sure I can ask Him!

Wow!

The quest for knowledge, that's one of the most exciting endeavors available to us humans! It leads me to the library or my study at home time and time again!

And I'll spend eternity living with the greatest Research Librarian Who ever lived!

How very exciting!

Heaven is not just a time of rest and tranquility, I'm pretty sure it will be delightful and pleasant and, in the best sense of the word, absolutely fun!

Thank you, Lord.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Jesus did all things well, still does in fact!

 

 

 

There's just nothing like the Word of God!

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