Jun 042011

Missed it by that much
Mark 12:28-40

Still in the temple, some scribes now approached Jesus.  These guys knew their scriptures because they spent most of their time copying the scriptures to create new scrolls of the Torah (Jewish Bible).  They asked a straightforward question and got a straightforward answer.  The question was:  “What is the greatest commandment?”  Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.”  They knew this to be correct, because it said so in the Torah.  Jesus told them that they were not far from the kingdom of God.  But how much closer did they need to get?

Jesus posed a question to the scribes:  “The Bible say that the Christ will be a son of David, yet David calls Him Lord.  How can this be?”  No one could answer, not even the scribes.*  The people were intrigued and listened carefully.

Now that He had the people’s attention, he told them to beware of the scribes who dressed well, and expected to be honored in all situations.  These scribes swindled widows out of their pensions and estates for their own gain and said long prayers with eloquent speech to no-one in particular.  They would be condemned.  Now the scribes too probably wanted to kill Jesus.

Jesus had condemned the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and now the scribes all in one day.  The scribes knew the Torah better than anyone, and expected to be honored for that knowledge.  Even Jesus said that the scribes were close to the kingdom of God because they knew their scriptures, yet they were missing something.  Jesus might as well have been saying: “They got so close to that other cliff wall after they had jumped — missed it by inches.”  Even though they knew the scriptures, they couldn’t answer Jesus’ question about David and the Christ.  If they had all this knowledge, why couldn’t they figure it out?

What they lacked to answer the question was the Holy Spirit — our interpreter and guide.  David had knowledge of Jesus the Christ through the Holy Spirit — it could not have been otherwise.  He received the Holy Spirit because he loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.  The scribes had head knowledge, but God was not the Lord of their heart.  They had no love for God or for their neighbors.  They had missed the kingdom of God by about 10 inches.

Let God be the Lord of your head and heart today.  Love the Lord with your whole being, and love everyone here on earth as you would wish to be loved.

*The answer is that Jesus existed from the very beginning and David, through the Holy Spirit, recognized Christ as the right hand of God.  Christ eventually came to earth as a descendant of David (see Matt. 22:41-46 for more clarity on this passage).

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