Last week I read a scripture in my daily reading and at first I just went on a finished the reading and didn’t really think about it. But later in the day, that scripture kept coming back up and perplexed me. I would like to discuss it with you.
The Greatest CommandmentI know that many of us have heard this scripture, over and over again, but there were a few words that really bothered me on this particular day. It is when Jesus says to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” ‘Not Far’…Those two words really bothered me.
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34
When Jesus gave his answer to this man, the man essentially said, “Yes, I am doing all of those things. I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And I love my neighbors and I know that all of this is the most important.” Then Jesus tells them, well, you are not far.
I would have wanted to say…NOT FAR….I just told you that I did all of those things….what else does it take?
See, I have a fear of being ‘not far’ from the kingdom, but not actually getting in. I have always had a fear that when I get to judgment, God will say.”Well, you ALMOST made it, but there was this ONE thing that you didn’t ask for forgiveness for…SORRY.” And send me packing. When I read this verse it brought all of those old feelings back up again.
But then God reminded me what the teacher of the law was lacking. He was lacking JESUS. In John 14:6 it says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This teacher, for all the good works he had done, missed the ONE thing that was standing in front of him.
As I read it now, I can almost hear the mans voice, proud that he knew the right answer and proud that he had done all of those things. But still all of his works and knowledge could not get him into heaven, only the person of whom he asked the question could…and that part he missed.
Please, if you are reading this post and you don’t know Jesus Christ as your savior, don’t wait another minute!! Don’t miss the kingdom of God because you think you know all the right answers and you do all the right things. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through the Son. If you need help, find a church, find a friend, email me…just don’t WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE to get the only one in your life who can EVER save you.
God bless you, have a wonderful Sunday!