Mark 12:32-34 Not Far, But Not There

Mark 12:32-34 (KJV)
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.

Because Jesus said this scribe answered Him discreetly, that is “wisely and prudently,” and said he wasn’t far from the kingdom of God, it’s pretty easy to view his answer to Jesus positively. I never read this passage without seeing some arrogance in it. I think the scribe is trying to lord over Jesus. His response seems to me to possess a condescending tone. He presumes to be the teacher over Jesus. 

In this light, the word, discreet, is a more appropriate term than wise or prudent. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says that it means literally, “separate, reserved, wary, hence discerning.” To be discreet can be dishonest. It hides something. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary goes on to give the following sentence as an example of its use, “It is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to society.” The scribe answered discreetly in the sense that he cautiously crafted his Words so that he did not disagree with the obvious truth Jesus gave, but made himself to be the master of it. 

And so Jesus answered with equal discretion. Truly the scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God. Not far, but not there.

To my readers:
First of all, thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. Secondly, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.

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Mark 12:32-34 Not Far, But Not There

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Author: marvinmck

Marvin McKenzie was born in the Pacific Northwest and became a Christian at the age of eighteen. He has been in the Baptist ministry for thirty years and has planted and pastored churches in Washington and Oregon. Besides his pastoral ministry, Marvin has been actively involved in training men for the Baptist ministry. He has conducted local church Bible Institutes in those churches he has pastored, from which a number of men have entered the ministry. Marvin also served as: Vice President of the Western States Baptist Bible Fellowship, The Board of Directors of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA, Dean of men at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, Executive Vice President of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA and Executive Vice President of Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, OK. Marvin is married to Anita. They have two sons, Bohannan and Caleb. Both are Baptist pastors in Washington State. Marvin enjoys camping, fishing and horses.

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