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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 193 - Close

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 12:34

There must have been a sigh of relief. Finally, after dealing with all those highly educated, highly paid, highly placed, pompous, proud leaders who were only trying to trip up Jesus. Here’s someone who opened with an open question. With an open heart. Searching with an open head.

This scribe shows sincerity both in his question and his reaction to Jesus’ answer. This prompts Jesus to encourage him on his life’s spiritual journey. He says that the scribe has answered with discernment, someone who’s taken in all the information and made an accurate, truthful observation. He’s listening, finding truth, and following it.

This wise scribe wasn’t going to be told what to believe by anyone else. He wasn’t going to be intimidated by the other scribes, who had tried and failed to trip up Jesus. He wasn’t going to be pushed around by the crowd that thronged to Jesus. He wasn’t going to be scared off by social media or what was in his Twitter feed.

This guy made up his own mind. He wasn’t afraid of the truth. What he might discover. He was willing to leave his preconceptions at the door. He wasn’t scared of examining Jesus himself. He was willing to make the investment himself.

Figuring out who Jesus is, seeing what he truly says about himself, how he interacts and treats people, what he claims about himself, is the greatest journey of discovery in this life.

I watched a nature documentary about wolves surviving winters in the arctic. As a young man, one of the cameramen received a book about arctic wolves. He fell in love with their beauty and ability to survive in the arctic cold. And as they were shooting, one of the wolves came near. It was an extraordinary moment for certain. The cameraman stood perfectly still, allowing the wolf to draw closer. As the wolf drifted away, the cameraman said with a quivering voice, that this was the highlight of his entire life, never to be repeated.

I was happy for the cameraman. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Something to be remembered and celebrated. It was a high-water mark in his life.

But then I wondered, what happens now? What meaning and purpose does the cameraman have to look forward to? Does he only go forward with his life while looking into his rearview mirror? If this is all there is, then the future is all downhill from here.

Jesus, on the other hand, gives this scribe hope.

  • Hope for yesterday – your past experiences are not for nothing. They are not lost. God has used them to prepare him for today and tomorrow.

  • Hope for today – Jesus says that he’s close. He’s not quite there yet, he’s on the right path, but there are miles yet to go. More to be learned. More to be heard. More to be done. More to change.

  • Hope for tomorrow – Jesus encourages the scribe to keep on the path that he’s on. He’s not far from the kingdom of God. And God’s kingdom is not a one-night stand. It’s new and exciting for all eternity.

Are you looking to come to the place where the scribe finds himself? The scribe has been looking where all good scribes look, at what they “scribe.” He’s been looking at the scriptures and sees that not only do they point to Jesus, but that he’s the fulfillment of all both God’s predictions and the people’s hope.

Have you come to that scribe-like place too? Looking for God, but maybe you’ve been looking for God in all the wrong places. In self-fulfillment, possessions, power, prominence. These all wind up empty, except for frustration.

Jesus says that the scribe is “not far from the kingdom of heaven.” But arriving at the kingdom of heaven isn’t like any earthly destination. Once you arrive at a place here on earth, you’re there. Period. Once you cross the border, cross the finish line, the race is all over.

But not with Jesus. Once you cross over, arrive with Jesus, it’s only starting. It’s an eternal journey that never ends. There is always something to learn about God. Something to learn about Jesus.

Jesus said that this guy was close. Close to the truth. Close to Jesus. And he wants to be close to you too.

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